American Elephants

Now That He Has Averted a Shutdown, Obama Will Lay Out a Plan on Wednesday. by The Elephant's Child

Recent polls indicate that American voters disapprove of the job President Obama is doing, and they don’t like the way he handling the economy, the budget deficit, health care, foreign policy and energy policy.  According to Quinniapiac, 60 percent of Americans disapprove of his performance on the economy.  The Real Clear Politics average shows that 63% of Americans believe the country is on “the wrong track”, a staggering  34% higher than those that believe the country is heading in” the right direction.”

Yesterday, at a town hall meeting at Fairless Hills, PA, Obama introduced a new theme.  He is going to help the economy to grow, reduce our dependence on oil, double clean energy, and he’s not going to allow the usual Washington politics to stand in the way of America’s progress (by which he means his policy goals). He is arguing that those who disagree with his policies are engaged in politics.

He dropped by the Lincoln Memorial Saturday to tell the tourists that the reason they were able to enjoy the memorial instead of it being shut down was because Congress had done the hard work of coming to an agreement.  How do they shut down the Lincoln Memorial?  Do they put up big sheets of plywood?  Are there doors that I never saw?  I suppose they would have shut down the cherry blossoms around the tidal basin too.

Presidential adviser David Plouffe appeared on several Sunday shows, and said that the president would lay out a broad plan to reduce the nation’s soaring deficit and debt this week, going further than he has before to scale back costly entitlement programs such as Medicare and other social programs,

In a proposal that will also include calls for hiking taxes on the rich, Obama will make clear he “believes we need significant deficit reduction in the coming years.  The president’s deficit reduction plan would include cuts to government health insurance and a discussion over reforming Social Security, as well as eliminating Bush-era tax cuts for people making over $250,000.  “We can’t take a machete, we have to take a scalpel, and we’re going to have to cut, we’re going to have to look carefully.You’re going to have to look at Medicare and Medicaid and see what kind of savings you can get.”

Eric Cantor, House majority leader said: “I sit here and I listen to David Plouffe talk about their commitment to cut spending, and knowing full well that for the last two months, we’ve had to bring this president kicking and screaming to the table to cut spending.”

Jeff Sessions (R-AL), who is the Ranking Member of the Senate Budget Committee summed it up:

The President recently submitted a budget to Congress that was the most irresponsible spending plan any President has ever put forward. Today’s announcement that the President will deliver an address this week on deficit reduction is an apparent recognition that the budget plan he submitted to Congress, as required by law, fails to address our dire fiscal challenges. However, it will not be sufficient for the President to simply make a speech. Instead, he must fulfill his duty as president and submit a new budget plan to Congress specifically setting forth the changes he wishes to make to his previous proposal, including both mandatory and discretionary savings. The President’s vision, whatever it is, must be presented in a detailed, concrete form. CBO must be able to score it and I and the Budget Committees in the House and Senate must be able to scrutinize it. I am uneasy that this announcement has been made not by a substantive policy official such as his budget director or Treasury Secretary but by the President’s top political advisor.

By law, three bodies in Washington must present a budget: the House, the Senate, and the White House.

That’s where it stands.

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