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Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency, 549 U.S. 497 (2007),[1] is a U.S. Supreme Court case decided 5-4 in which twelve states and several cities of the United States brought suit against the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to force that federal agency to regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases as pollutants.



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Guest Bloomingdale Resident

I just heard the Cherry Blossom parade and the Smithsonian is going to be shut down. Is the whole festival closed this weekend?


The City of Washington will lose $125 million from these idiot bozos who let this happen.

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Guest Sharon Lee

Cherry Blossom Festival plans to throw parade regardless of shutdown. Itis scheduled to run from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday on Constitution Avenue NW between Seventh and 17th streets. In the event of a shutdown, the parade may be held in an abbreviated form, National Cherry Blossom Festival President Diana Mayhew said at a press conference that also included the Greater Washington Board of Trade, Destination DC and Nonprofit Roundtable of Greater Washington.

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Guest Mad Max

No one will know if the Justice Department is shut down - five years after the BIGGEST FRAUD IN HISTORY and they still can't find anyone to prosecute.

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Guest LAW

How about getting through the 2011 budget? Of which By Law Your Group the democrats SHOULD have passed but did not.


Seniors got to be Seniors for a reason, and I don't think that they will believe that your group has their best interests in mind especially after the Health care law that your group passed.


Add to that 18 million people added to Medicare though that will equal out in terms of people losing their insurance, which is close to the same amount of people added.


[i honestly still think that the American people DON'T care about the budget, and are primarily concerned about jobs.


The numbers point that out.]


Well!!! How ever this plays out? I wish you well in your job, but NOT IN POLITICS. :)







According to the Congressional Budget Office the Republican 2012 proposal would do the following:


* Convert the current Medicare program to a system under which beneficiaries would be entitled to premium support payments to help them purchase private health insurance. Those payments would grow over time with overall consumer prices. The change would apply to people turning 65 beginning in 2022; beneficiaries who turn 65 before then would remain in the traditional Medicare program, with the option of converting to the new system.

* Convert the matching payments that the federal government makes to states for Medicaid costs under current law into block grants of fixed dollar amounts beginning in 2013. Those amounts would grow over time with overall consumer prices and the population.

* Repeal the key provisions of the major 2010 health care legislation that deal with insurance coverage and certain other provisions.


Under the proposal, most elderly people who would be entitled to premium support payments would pay more for their health care than they would pay under the current Medicare system. For a typical 65-year-old with average health spending enrolled in a plan with benefits similar to those currently provided by Medicare, CBO estimated the beneficiary’s spending on premiums and out-of-pocket expenditures as a share of a benchmark amount: what total health care spending would be if a private insurer covered the beneficiary. By 2030, the beneficiary’s share would be 68 percent of that benchmark under the proposal, 25 percent under the extended-baseline scenario, and 30 percent under the alternative fiscal scenario.

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Guest LAW

Now to the present.

Remarks by the President on Budget Talks


James S. Brady Press Briefing Room


10:44 P.M. EDT


THE PRESIDENT: Good evening, everybody. I'm going to just have a few quick remarks.


We just had a productive meeting with Speaker Boehner, as well as Majority Leader Reid. We discussed the impasse that we're currently at with respect to the budget, and I thought the meetings were frank, they were constructive, and what they did was narrow the issues and clarify the issues that are still outstanding.


I remain confident that if we're serious about getting something done we should be able to complete a deal and get it passed and avert a shutdown. But it's going to require a sufficient sense of urgency from all parties involved. It means that people have to recognize that a government shutdown has real consequences for real people.


There was a interview that was done tonight on one of the nightly news networks -- a man from Kentucky named J.T. Henderson. He said he's counting on his tax rebate because his family has been scraping by, and he might not get it if the government shuts down. So J.T. said if he could speak directly to all of us in Washington he'd tell us that all of this political grandstanding has effects as it trickles down to normal, everyday Americans.


I could not have said it better myself. A shutdown could have real effects on everyday Americans. That means that small business owners who are counting on that loan to open their business, to make payroll, to expand, suddenly they can't do it. It means folks who are potentially processing a mortgage, they may not be able to get it. It means that hundreds of thousands of workers across the country suddenly are without a paycheck. Their families are counting on them being able to go to work and do a good job.


There are ramifications all across this economy. And at a time when the economy is still coming out of an extraordinarily deep recession, it would be inexcusable, given the relatively narrow differences when it comes to numbers between the two parties, that we can't get this done.


So my expectation is that folks are going to work through the night. In the morning I will check in with the respective staffs of the Speaker and the Majority Leader, as well as my team here. If we haven't made progress, we're going to go back at it again. And we're going to keep on pounding away at this thing because I'm absolutely convinced that we can get this done.


There's no reason why we should not be able to complete a deal. There's no reason why we should have a government shutdown -- unless we've made a decision that politics is more important than folks like J.T. Henderson.


That's not why we we're elected. That's not why we were sent here. And I want to meet the expectations of the American people in terms of delivering for them.


All right? Thank you very much, everybody.



10:46 P.M. EDT

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Guest Nadeam

Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Congressman Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Ranking Member on the House Budget Committee, held a press conference today in the Capitol Visitor Center to highlight the disastrous effects of the budget proposed by Republicans for fiscal year 2012—including ending Medicare guarantee for seniors, slashing support for seniors in nursing homes, and giving away tens of billions of dollars in tax subsidies to Big Oil Below is a transcript of the press conference.


Leader Pelosi on the GOP Budget:

“…The so-called path to progress looks more like a road to ruin for Medicare and a road to riches for Big Oil. Put simply, it is unfair, it does not create jobs, it does not grow the economy, and it does not strengthen the middle class...”


Leader Pelosi on Possibility of a Government Shutdown:

“…Let me say at this point that we do not want government to shut down, that we have made every compromise. In fact, we had cut $41 billion from the President's budget at the end of last year. The President and Senator Reid have gone much farther than that in meeting the Republicans more than halfway…”



Leader Pelosi. Good morning. I am very pleased to be here today with our senior Democrat on the Budget Committee, to thank him for his leadership, for his stamina in making the fight yesterday in the Budget Committee, again, to congratulate him on his leadership and to thank the members of the Budget Committee, as well.


We always say around here, a budget is a statement of our national values. At least, it should be. It should reflect the priorities of our nation. And as we allocate resources in the budget, it should reflect those values. That is not what we have seen come out of the Budget Committee early this morning.


The Republican budget is unfair because it has the wrong priorities: ending Medicare for our seniors, while we give tens of billions of tax breaks to Big Oil; slashing support for seniors in nursing homes, while we give tax breaks to businesses sending jobs overseas; cutting education for our children, increasing the cost of higher education for nearly 10 million students, while we give tax cuts to the wealthiest people in our country.


Last night, the Republican Budget Committee voted to reopen the doughnut hole. Can you imagine that? To reopen the doughnut hole, forcing seniors to pay more for their prescription drugs. This is not a statement of American values.


For America's seniors, according to AARP, the Republican budget would undermine Medicare's promise of secure health coverage. And the nonpartisan CBO says it would force seniors to pay twice as much for less—that is, when people enroll in 10 years.


A letter from 17 Democratic governors says that the Ryan plan would cut Medicare, would cut Medicaid, would severely undercut our ability to provide health care to our residents.


And for the claims of fiscal responsibility, the Republican budget would add more than $8 trillion to the national debt over the next decade—$8 trillion over the next decade.


Passing a budget and addressing our nation's economic challenges requires us to seek compromises. But threatening seniors' health and cutting off our children's education just to give tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires is not the middle ground that we strive to find.


In fact, we are not going to find the middle ground if we are just talking about dollars and cents. We have to take this debate to a higher ground a higher ground of our values, respect for our seniors, the education of our children, creation of jobs, while reducing the deficit.


By April 15th, the Republicans will have been in the majority for 100 days. And they have created they have put forth no jobs bill. In fact, they have voted for bills that slash jobs, and rolled out plans to end Medicare.


The so-called path to progress looks more like a road to ruin for Medicare and a road to riches for Big Oil. Put simply, it is unfair, it does not create jobs, it does not grow the economy, and it does not strengthen the middle class.


I am very proud of the fight that Mr. Van Hollen and the House Democrats presented yesterday, last night, all day, I guess, all day and evening, in the Budget Committee. I thank him for his leadership, and I yield the podium to him.


Thank you.


Congressman Van Hollen. Well, thank you, Madam Leader. And thank you for your leadership on these issues.


And I fear that what we are seeing right now on the CR is just a preview of things to come when we get to the main event, which, of course, is the budget for fiscal year 2012.


And what we saw all day yesterday in the Budget Committee was the plan the Republicans have. And behind the sunny rhetoric of reform, you have the same old ideological agenda: big tax breaks for the very wealthy in this country, continued big subsidies for the oil industry and other special interests, continued breaks for companies that ship American jobs instead of American products overseas. And at the expense of what? Cutting education for our kids; cutting essential research in science and development, including research to find cures and treatments to cancer and other diseases; cutting important investments in our national infrastructure, the kind of investments that made this country strong.


And, as they talk about providing the very wealthy with an added tax break, if you move the top rate from 35 percent to 25 percent, on average, millionaires would get a $100,000 tax break. Now, if you do that in a revenue neutral way, who pays? Middle class taxpayers. And, in fact, when we offered an amendment yesterday to protect those middle class taxpayers, they rejected it.


And all of these cuts for the very top so that they can cut away the fundamental Medicare guarantee for our seniors. And I want to be very clear about what that does. And there is no dispute about this. Seniors, under that proposal, will no longer have the Medicare option. They will be required they will be required to go into the private health insurance market and fight for a policy and try and get a policy when the funds, vouchers, whatever you want to call it, they are given are going steadily downward in relationship to the rising health care costs.


Seniors, you are on your own with the rising health care costs and the insurance industry, under this proposal. It is rationing by income, and you will not be able to find the doctor you use if the plan that you can now afford doesn't have your doctor.


Everyone's payroll taxes for Medicare now and all the premiums that seniors are paying for Medicare, where do they go? They go to the insurance industry, which stands to make a bonanza out of this, and seniors are left on their own.


I want to close by making this important point. Number one, this is not similar to the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan, as has been stated. Under the Federal Employee Health Benefits Plan, there is what is called a "fair share formula." The beneficiary and the provider, in this case the Federal Government, share the risks of rising health care costs. That is not the case under this proposal for Medicare.


What they are saying is they want a much better deal for Members of Congress than they want for seniors, because it was very clear that they are not changing those formulas for Federal employees, as they shouldn't. But they are asking seniors to take on the risk of rising health care costs that they themselves, as Members of Congress, will not take.


And that is a very bad deal for seniors. It may be a good deal for the insurance companies, but, from the perspective of seniors, Medicare is terminated in its current form. No more guarantee, you are on your own.


Leader Pelosi. Thank you very much, Ranking Member Van Hollen.


As many of you or some of you who were here at the time, 5 years ago, the Democrats in the House of Representatives and in the Senate had to meet the challenge and beat back a Republican effort, led by President Bush, to privatize Social Security. Here we are 5 years later, and we are fighting an effort on the part of the Republicans to end Medicare.


Many of you also know, some time ago, then-Speaker Gingrich said, "It will wither on the vine because people will voluntarily leave it." He repeated "voluntarily." This Republican budget goes that one better by eliminating Medicare. There is not even an option to leave it voluntarily, because it will no longer exist.


So this is a fight that our caucus is very unified behind. It is stunning to see the radical nature of what the Republican Budget Committee and the Republican leadership are proposing to America's seniors. We will not let it happen.


And I am pleased to take questions on the subject.


Q: Ms. Pelosi, can you give us what your understanding is of the latest in spending negotiations for this year and what the outstanding issues are that remain?


Leader Pelosi. Well, you would really have to speak to the Democratic leader in the Senate, the President, or Mr. Boehner because they are inside that room. But the understanding that we have is that they are working very hard.


Let me say at this point that we do not want government to shut down, that we have made every compromise. In fact, we had cut $41 billion from the President's budget at the end of last year. The President and Senator Reid have gone much farther than that in meeting the Republicans more than halfway.


But we understand that some of the concerns are about the amount and some are about the rider. But everybody understands that we cannot shut down government.


Q: Madam Leader, Senator Reid was on the floor today, and he said that, basically, the numbers are getting very close, that they are almost there, but the outstanding issue now is over this abortion issue and the other riders. I wondered if you could weigh in on that and tell us if you think that, if that comes off the table, if any of your Members will…


Leader Pelosi. I appreciate that you have said that that is what Senator Reid has said. I do not know that that is the sum total of the policy objections that exist, the policy differences that exist, between those who are negotiating here. So far, we haven't seen anything that House Democrats can support, but we hope that they will arrive at a place that we can.


Q: Erskine Bowles, the President's fiscal commission chair, told the Senate Budget Committee recently that America faces the most predictable economic crisis in history because of the national debt. And he said that this crisis is going to hit in about 2 years. Do you both agree with that assessment?


Leader Pelosi. I am going to yield to the Budget Ranking Member, but I will have something to say about it, as well.


Congressman Van Hollen. Well, first, I think that the bipartisan fiscal commission did a great service to the country by putting a lot of ideas on the table for discussion. And those have been the subject of a lot of debate. And I think some will move forward as we go through this process. And we will see how it shakes out.


Do we have a deficit problem in this country? Yeah, we have to get our deficits under control over the long run in a steady, predictable way. That is not what the debate is about. The debate is how best to do that.


And anybody watching the Budget Committee the other day would have seen a very different set of values and choices. Time after time, we said, you have to make sure that the very wealthy in the country pay their fair share. You cannot say you are going to cut Medicare benefits for seniors, that you are going to cut education, and then say you are going to give the folks at the very top an even bigger tax break.


Now, let me mention what Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson said about the Republican budget for 2012. They said it was not balanced and not comprehensive. Why? For the very reasons that I say.


The fiscal commission's budget assumes that the folks at the very top will go back to the same tax rates they had during the Clinton years—years when the economy was going through the roof, lots of job growth. What happens in the Republican budget is they have chosen, as I said earlier, to give folks at the very top big tax breaks, special interests big tax breaks?


And that is why Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson said just the other day that it was not a balanced approach to dealing with the deficits going forward. We need a balanced approach.


Q: So, do you agree with him, though, that there is going to be, what he called, the most predictable economic crisis in history, that that is coming, and soon?


Congressman Van Hollen. I agree that the most important thing that we have to focus on is getting our economy back in full gear and getting people back to work. And that is our focus.


And, interestingly—and I don't know if you followed it the other day—but there is this, sort of, prediction that if you adopt this Republican budget, that it will create jobs. That prediction was made by The Heritage Foundation, the same group that predicted that the tax cuts in 2001 and 2003 would lead to huge job growth in the United States. And they predicted millions and millions of jobs would flow from that.


I think we all know the end of that story. The end of that story, we actually lost over 650,000 private sector jobs at the end of the Bush administration. So, clearly, that was a failed approach.


So our focus should be on jobs. It should be about the right prescription for jobs, and that is what we have been focused on.


Leader Pelosi. I believe that the commission, the bipartisan Bowles-Simpson, Simpson-Bowles commission, presented many good suggestions to the American people and to the Congress of the United States, most of them ignored by the Republican writers of the Republican budget.


They talked about subjecting the defense budget to some scrutiny in a very significant way. They talked about ending revenue earmarks; that means tax—what do we call them? Tax expenditures. That means tax breaks for Big Oil, for example—about looking at these tax expenditures. That was ignored by the Budget Committee.


And they also, as have others who have reviewed the situation, have said, you have to reduce spending, but you cannot do it too quickly or you will harm the recovery that we need to have, the creation of jobs and recovery that we need to have.


So whether we characterize when the moment of truth is on this budget, I wish that some of our Republican friends who are tooting that horn would have been around and saying something when President Bush was increasing the deficit, coming out of President Clinton's last four or five budgets either in surplus or in balance. And then with the tax cuts for the rich, which did not create jobs, two unpaid for wars, and a giveaway to the private sector on the prescription drug bill, took us to this place of deep deficit. As they took us to deep recession, they didn't have growth, and a fiscal crisis, which reduced revenues, as well.


So we want to have an approach that recognizes that we have a challenge; we all know we have to reduce the deficit. We are not presenting any bills to our children and our grandchildren. But we have to do so in a way that promotes growth, that promotes growth, that keeps us number one from the standpoint of innovation, and, again, sensibly reduces spending, but not to try to do it in a way that reduces education, which brings more money to the Treasury than any other initiative you can name.


We all agree we have to reduce the deficit. The question is how do we do it. We are returning to the same path of disaster that President Bush took us on: tax cuts for the rich, not creating jobs, not encouraging growth.


Q: Leader Pelosi, the CR that is on the board today the Republicans are describing as a "troop funding bill."


Leader Pelosi. That is not the—I am sorry


Q: The 1 week CR that is on the floor.


Leader Pelosi. Oh, I see. And they are describing it as what?


Q: They are describing it as the "troop funding bill." I am just wondering, do you think that there will be much, if any, Democratic support for it? And are you concerned at all about this perception about the troops not getting paid during a shutdown?


Leader Pelosi. No, I think that we will have—the choice that we will have on this floor will be a clear one when we have the debate as we have the debate. We certainly intend to keep government open so that our troops will be funded.


For them to hide behind our troops while they build a future unworthy of the sacrifice of our troops, with the initiatives that they have in H.R. 1 and the proposal that they are making, is a contradiction in terms.


But I believe we will have a solid vote against that, because it is not the right path to do for our economy and for our troops and for the strength of our country as defined both militarily and economically. So I think you will see a strong Democratic "no" on that, and I would hope that the President would veto that bill.


Q: As a follow up, are you worried about that being seen as not voting for our troops?


Leader Pelosi. No. We cannot—I mean, we know who we are. We are the ones who have supported our troops all along. We have done more for our men and women in uniform and when they come home as veterans than has been done in the history of our country—all of that with a great deal of Republican opposition.


So for them to want to disguise their bad proposal by hiding behind our troops is really a disservice to our troops.


Congressman Van Hollen. This is a very cynical ploy, to use our troops to try to impose the Republican agenda through the budget process. They are saying, unless you yield to our demands on our very radical social agenda which is what they are trying to impose through this—we are not going to move forward in helping our troops. That is a cynical ploy. The American people will see right through that.


Leader Pelosi. And, by the way, when we had this in our bill, our omnibus bill and the rest last year to fund the troops, they voted against it. So this has a—some would use harsher words. I will say "inconsistency" about it that does not look good in the light of day.


Thank you all.

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Guest NPP

It is hard to imagine that military spending—which currently accounts for 58 percent of federal discretionary spending and is slated for another increase under President Obama's proposed budget for FY 2012—will escape the budget cutters' axe. It certainly seems excessive. U.S. military spending accounts for nearly half of global military expenditures, and the number two spender is China, whose military budget is only one-sixth that of the United States. With well over $700 billion going annually to the Pentagon, ongoing U.S. wars, and U.S. nuclear weapons programs, Peace Action and elements of the peace movement are joining with supporters of public education, housing, healthcare, and other human services in a Move the Money campaign, designed to shift federal resources from military to social spending. Numerous mainstream groups are already on board with this campaign, including the United Auto Workers, the United Electrical Workers, and SEIU 1199 New England.

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Guest Bacon

Abortion financing and clean air laws have become major obstacles to a deal.



Planned Parenthood already can't use federal funds for abortion, so we are holding up budget over pap smears.

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Guest LiveAction.org

Planned Parenthood has nearly one billion dollars in net assets. Data shows that over the last nine years, Planned Parenthood has taken in over $500 million in profits.


Former Planned Parenthood clinic director Abby Johnson has written that she was given an “abortion quota” and was even told by her superiors to double the number of abortions in order to bring in more revenue.


In 2000, Planned Parenthood performed 197,070 abortions while making 2,486 adoption referrals. In 2009, they performed 332,278 abortions and made just 977 adoption referrals.

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3.8 trillion For 2011 Budget, 61 billion dollars in proposed cuts?


Do you people have ANY IDEA as to just how many government programs are actually out there?



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Guest Ryan



U.S. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner said on Friday that a deal had been struck on funding the federal government for the rest of the fiscal year that ends on Sept. 30, ending fears of a government shutdown.


"I am pleased Senator Reid and I and the White House have been able to come to an agreement that will in fact cut spending and keep our government open," Boehner told reporters.


He added that the House will vote later on Friday on a stopgap bill to keep the government open beyond midnight and until the broader spending bill can be written and passed by Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama.

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Guest Dixie

Congress did not do crap. They barely put a dent in what is owed. And it has been reported that they had to confer with the lobbyist on K street first. I do not want to pay for black expenses. If they do not get this right the South will rise again.

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Guest Josh

This should not be a race issue. This should not be a class issue.


This should be do what is right issue.


Active Duty, Veterans, Seniors, Disabled, and Children should get health coverage.


Pregnant Mothers, Victims of Crimes, should get health coverage until they are healed.


And that is it.


Federal employees, Congressional, Judicial, and Executive staff do not deserve free health coverage either.


They can pay for it. Just like the rest of us.

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Guest taxmancometh

A full 25% of our GDP is already artificially supported by taxpayer spending. We are rapidly approaching the point where our debt will be 100% OF GDP!!!! The Fed is already monetizing 80% of our debt because foreign investors no longer want to support MORDOR on the Potomac!

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Guest cookemom

The top three drivers of the deficit is Defense, Tax expenditures, and Medicare. If we honestly re-assessed the the first two, then Medicare could be taken care of with very little pain. They are not equal in proportion to impact and those who need/use Medicare should not carry the burden of solving the issue of the over the top spending in Defense, nor the bottomless well of revenue lost due to tax expenditures of all kinds.

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Guest Melissa

Congressman Rob Bishop (R-UT) voted in support of the measure, which among many things, cuts tens of billions of dollars in federal spending, eliminates funding for the Department of Interior’s controversial wild lands proposal, emphasizes the importance that NASA maintain important heavy-lift capabilities for space and missile defense, removes the gray wolf from the Endangered Species list, and ensures that our military and support personnel are not subject to furloughs. Following passage in the House, Bishop released the following statement:


“At the beginning of year, the President proposed a budget that made zero cuts to spending. Today, Republicans succeeded in diverting the course that would have otherwise been taken if the President and Democrats in Washington had it their way. We are making progress and we continue to gain new ground in our efforts to drastically overhaul and reverse past spending practices, but we have to cut more.


“The reality is that while Republicans maintain the majority in the House, we still face a Senate and White House controlled by the Democrats. So far, though, we have gained far more than we have lost and have cut tens of billions of dollars in federal spending while averting a government shutdown. Millions of Americans, including our nation’s military and support personnel at bases like Hill AFB, will not have to go without pay and many wasteful programs such as DOI’s wild lands initiative have been cut. In total, this bill represents the largest spending cut in American history. This is a drastic improvement over what has occurred in the past few years.


“In addition to making historic cuts to spending, this legislation prohibits federal funding of abortions in the District of Columbia, saving the lives of many unborn children.


“While this bill does many good things for the state of Utah as well as the entire nation, the reality is that it only addresses federal spending through September. The real fight lies ahead with the 2012 budget, which is scheduled to be voted on tomorrow and includes trillions of dollars in cuts, reforms Medicaid and Medicare, repeals ObamaCare, and continues to drastically reduce discretionary funding. The battles over the provisions included in the FY2011 budget and many more will have to be fought and won again. The fight to secure trillions of dollars in cuts in the FY2012 budget cannot begin until the budget for FY2011 is passed in both the House and the Senate. I along with my Republican colleagues remain committed to ensuring that we cut trillions in wasteful federal spending in the next fiscal year, tenfold of what is included in the final FY2011 package.


“If I had it my way, we would have cut more, however it is far better than where we have been and evidence that we are headed in the right direction,” said Congressman Rob Bishop.

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Guest Jesse

Republicans needed Democrats to pass the final spending plan. The Roll call vote Thursday was 260-167.

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Guest LAW

Press Gaggle by Press Secretary Jay Carney Aboard Air Force One en route Joint Base Andrews


Q The President said in an interview today that the debt ceiling won’t be raised without spending cuts. Can you explain what he means by that? Are these two separate issues like you have been saying, or one and the same?


MR. CARNEY: I think what the President made clear and has made clear in the past is that we -- there are two urgent tasks that need to be addressed. One, Congress has to vote to raise the ceiling on our debt. That's an imperative that shouldn’t be linked or held hostage to any other action because the consequences of not raising the debt ceiling -- those consequences would be catastrophic to the American economy, to the global economy and to America’s creditworthiness internationally.


We are also moving with a great sense of urgency towards -- taking steps towards greater deficit reduction, through the speech the President gave the other day, and the process that he has asked the Vice President to oversee and leaders of Congress to appoint members to participate in where they can come together and begin to negotiate areas where we can agree to bring about further deficit reduction in a balanced way that can achieve the kind of results that we think are what America needs economically and for our future.


These are both urgent, but they're not linked. How this will play out remains to be seen, but both need to be done. And with regards to the debt ceiling, it cannot be linked or held hostage to something that wouldn’t pass -- couldn’t reach consensus. It has to be done. All the leaders of Congress of both parties have said that, and we obviously share that sentiment.


Q So the one isn’t contingent on the other? It seemed in the interview like he was saying that he recognizes the relationship --


MR. CARNEY: I think what the President was saying is that he recognizes that the -- that Republicans want more deficit reduction. He wants more deficit reduction. He wants it in a balanced way. He also said that as in any compromise and any negotiation, he recognizes he’s not going to get 100 percent of what he wants or that it’s not going to be his way only, and Republicans need to recognize that, which is how we ended up with an agreement last week on the funding for the 2011 budget.


So I think that's the process that he -- a similar kind of process that he hopes that we’ll see as we go forward with -- on the deficit-reduction track for the larger-picture issues that we’re looking at.


Q But if his condition now is that the deficit ceiling won’t be raised without an agreement to cuts --


MR. CARNEY: That's not his position at all. His position is that the deficit ceiling must be raised -- absolutely. And that's the position of the Speaker of the House, the Senate Minority Leader, the Senate Majority Leader, the House Minority Leader, et cetera, et cetera -- all the major players in Congress -- which is fortunate because as we’ve all said and as I know you know, if you talk to economists or businessmen or women, that there’s simply too much at stake here to be playing around with the full faith and credit of the United States government.


What he is saying is that he recognizes that there is a great focus, as there should be, on the need for deficit reduction and building on the significant achievement of last week which was -- and voted on and passed into law yesterday the -- for the fiscal year 2011, the largest domestic non-defense discretionary spending cuts in history.


Q Does the President believe Paul Ryan is a sincere person? I mean, his comments in the public were very different than the comments when the reporters left the room, were very pointed in saying does he think -- you know, implying that Ryan was not serious about the deficit, he voted for two wars, that kind of thing. Is there a difference between what he said in public and what he said when we thought he was not in public?


MR. CARNEY: Actually I think what he said in that session you’re talking about and the things he’s said in more public forums have been entirely consistent. And you can’t in one breath criticize him for being pointed in his comments about the House Republican budget plan in public and then say, my gosh, he was pointed and so different in private, because he is making clear that the visions are quite different.

He does believe that Chairman Ryan is absolutely sincere and that he believes that this is the right -- that that’s the right path, the one he put forward is the right path for America.


The President simply disagrees because he doesn’t think that it’s balanced. He doesn’t think that we need to -- that the price of deficit reduction needs to be ending the guarantee, the health benefits that Medicare has provided our seniors, cutting energy -- clean energy investment by 70 percent, cutting education by 25 percent, cutting infrastructure by 30 percent -- and all so that we can not just reduce the deficit but so that we can extend tax cuts for the wealthiest of Americans and give new tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. That’s just not -- that’s just -- it’s a different vision.


And then -- and I think the point he’s making is that there is more here than a goal of deficit reduction. It’s a vision of government and what -- and the way our system should work and what America should look like.


And when he talked about those votes under the previous administration, he was making the point that that’s evidence that this is more than -- this is not just about deficit reduction. If it were just about deficit reduction, you wouldn’t vote for --


Q Wars.


MR. CARNEY: -- an entitlement, a brand new entitlement without paying for it. You wouldn’t vote for two massive tax cuts without paying for them, or for the funding of two wars without paying for them, which is what happened in the first decade of this year.


Q How did it happen last night that those remarks were piped back into the press room?


MR. CARNEY: It was a miscommunication, nothing more than that. But we’ve -- it’s not a problem, not an issue.


Q Is the President embarrassed about anything that he said --


MR. CARNEY: Not at all.


Q -- or regret --


MR. CARNEY: Not at all. There’s nothing --


Q -- might have clarified them differently if he had known they were for public distribution?


MR. CARNEY: He obviously -- that was meant to be a closed-press event. He was taking questions from supporters. But there’s nothing -- nothing he said that contradicts anything he said in public.


Q In the Q&A last night the President said that he anticipates that Republicans will seek to kind of put policy issue riders on future budget-type bills. So would he veto a deficit-reduction package that had unrelated social policy or environmental riders? Because he did, in the end, have to accept some, as you know.


MR. CARNEY: Well, I’m not going to speculate about what might be on a bill that hasn’t been written or anything like that. What I will say is that his position on these issues was made pretty clear in the negotiations over the 2011 continuing resolution and -- because he doesn’t believe that highly contentious social issues or ideological issues belong in budget bills. But I’m not going to pre-negotiate something that doesn’t even exist at this point.


Q Do you guys have any reaction to the CBO report that shows that the budget deal reduced government spending by $20-$25 billion, not the $38 billion number? Have you seen that?

MR. CARNEY: I have read reports of that. My only reaction is that we worked together with members of Congress on a package that, by the numbers, Republicans and Democrats measured together in the negotiations, reduced spending by roughly $38.5 billion. And there are obviously different ways to measure this and there are different kinds of spending, but those are real cuts with real impact on the government and on Americans.

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Guest CPC

The CPC proposal:


• Eliminates the deficits and creates a surplus by 2021

• Puts America back to work with a “Make it in America” jobs program

• Protects the social safety net

• Ends the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq

• Is FAIR (Fixing America’s Inequality Responsibly)


What the proposal accomplishes:


• Primary budget balance by 2014.

• Budget surplus by 2021.

• Reduces public debt as a share of GDP to 64.1% by 2021, down 16.5 percentage points from

a baseline fully adjusted for both the doc fix and the AMT patch.

• Reduces deficits by $5.6 trillion over 2012-21, relative to this adjusted baseline.

• Outlays equal to 22.2% of GDP and revenue equal 22.3% of GDP by 2021.



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