Blunt Says Talk of Tax Hikes is a “Waste of Time”
June 29, 2011

Missouri Senator Roy Blunt says the Administration ought to just drop any talk of revue increases in the budget negotiations. “It’s a waste of time conversation”, Blunt said.
The Republican maintains the Administration had their chance e to raise taxes when Democrats controlled both the White House and Capitol Hill from 2009-2011.
The Administration says they don’t want to raise taxes. They are making it clear the deficit could be eased if some corporate tax loopholes, like breaks for profitable oil companies, are closed.
Blunt says he is glad President Obama is now part of the budget talks, “even If it is in “the last minutes”, Blunt said.

Obama’s Troop Reduction Move Quickly Bounced from News Cycle by Budget Talks Defection
June 24, 2011

Barely 12 hours after president Barack Obama announced he was reducing the number of US troops in Afghanistan by 10,000, the Washington 27/7 news cycle moved on.

The announcement of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor that he was leaving the budget talks dominated the DC news cycle.

The National Journal covers the main points.

 

  1. REPUBLICANS PULL OUT OF BIDEN TALKS. President Obama and congressional leaders look set to take over deficit-reduction talks after GOP participants in negotiations led by Vice President Joe Biden dropped out on Thursday. In a news conference, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said the haggling will now fall to leadership and Obama. The issue “is now in the hands of the speaker, the president, and… me,” Reid said. Reid was reacting to a decision by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., to pull out of the White House-led debt and deficit talks on Thursday, and the subsequent decision by Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., to also drop out, aides said. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, used Cantor’s exit to insist that talks can resume if Democrats agree to take any tax increases off the table.
  2. BIPARTISAN DEFICIT TALKS MOVE TO THE NEXT LEVEL. The Biden negotiations, which had featured Cantor and Kyl squaring off against four Democrats, including Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., and Assistant Minority Leader James Clyburn, D-S.C., had thus far been described as productive, with participants from both parties saying they’ve found some $2 trillion in cuts over the decade under Biden’s brokerage. That leaves the parties some $500 billion below the $2.5 trillion number that key Republicans say is needed to raise the debt ceiling. But there has been a continual rift in the talks over how reductions will be found in health care entitlements and over whether and how to raise tax revenue as part of the deal. Obama and Boehner will have to suss out the final resolution of the taxes-and-entitlements debate. While Cantor has initiated the move, the White House had been expecting negotiations to step up to the next level within days after the bulk of the issues in the talks were resolved.
  3. CANTOR’S DEPARTURE COMES BY SURPRISE. Cantor’s decision was met with swift criticism from Democratic opponents and surprise from fellow Republicans, who were largely caught off guard by his about-face on the talks. According to multiple leadership sources, Cantor had praised the work and pace of the talks as recently as Tuesday. Some 48 hours later, he walked away, a decision unveiled in an exclusive interview with The Wall Street Journal on Thursday morning before he informed Boehner and Kyl, according to aides on both sides of the Capitol. The decision fits with a reputation Cantor is building for himself as the chief advocate of the conservative position, who is willing to leave compromise—and rank-and-file pushback—to Boehner. 
 

Claire & 4 Others Up in 2012 Ask Biden, Don’t Touch Medicare
June 6, 2011

 (AP) – Five Democratic senators are calling on Vice President Joe Biden to reaffirm his commitment to leaving Medicare unchanged during budget and deficit negotiations.

Sens. Claire McCaskill, of Missouri, Jon Tester, of Montana, Sherrod Brown, of Ohio, Ben Cardin of Maryland and Bill Nelson of Florida express their concerns in a letter sent Monday to Biden.

The letter was obtained by The Associated Press.

They note Biden has made progress in negotiations and say that as talks move to areas with less consensus the vice president must insist that significant changes to Medicare are off the table. They say that’s important because Republican leaders have said their Medicare proposal is still a part of negotiations.

All five senators, from states with significant elderly populations, are up for reelection in 2012.