The daily Progressive Breakfast serves up what progressive movement members need to know to start their day.
President Takes On Obstructionist Foot-Draggers
Obama tells PBS: “I want this done now. Now, if there are no deadlines, nothing gets done in this town. You’ve been around here long enough to know that you have to say, get this done. If somebody comes to me and says, it’s basically done; it’s going to spill over by a few days or a week — you know, that’s different. If people say, as, for example, a Republican senator said over the weekend, that we just want to keep on delaying and delaying this thing because we think this is going to be Obama’s Waterloo.”
HuffPost reports on blogger conference call with President Obama: “Obama floated the possibility that if it appears that health care reform lacks the 60 votes needed for passage, he might be open to reconciliation, which would allow for an up-or-down vote on budgetary and tax aspects of the bill … the president insisted on multiple occasions that he remained committed to a public option for insurance coverage and even threw a bit of cold water on one of the alternative proposals [for a co-op].”
Crooks and Liars has audio of the presidential blogger call. Other first-hand accounts from: Daily Kos, Dirigo Blue, The Pennsylvania Progressive, AmericaBlog, D-Day, Above Average Jane, MyDD and Ezra Klein.
CQ reports House Dems looking to quantify cost savings from reform to appease deficit-obsessed and secure final passage next week: “Democratic leaders are making ‘incremental progress’ trying to piece together enough support within their party to pass a health care overhaul, House Caucus Chairman John B. Larson said Monday. He said the leadership’s goal remains a floor vote on July 29, two days before the House’s scheduled departure on July 31 for its long August recess. But he added, ‘We’re going to stay until we get the job done.’ Larson, Connecticut Democrat, said one idea being discussed after last week’s CBO report that called into question how much money the Democrats’plan would save is to ‘put cost savings into legislative language and back them up by third party validators.’ Such outside reporting would vouch for prospective health care savings that CBO can’t quantify.”
Wonk Room’s Igor Volsky frets CBO won’t accept projected savings from WH proposal: “…the challenge lies in pleasing the CBO — which finds savings by following Potter Stewart rule of life: ‘I know it when I see it.’ However, since the MedPAC-like proposal is predicated on the President accepting its recommendations and Congress not voting them down, (and MedPAC is only required to not ‘increase in the aggregate level of net expenditures under the Medicare program,’) the CBO — which rarely defines the criteria of savings — is unlikely to ‘see’ savings.”
Senate Finance cmte may tax insurance companies instead of employer benefits directly. CQ: “Conrad said committee members are considering a proposal from John Kerry, D-Mass., that would tax insurance companies … That is economically similar to a proposal to cap the exclusion of health-care benefits from employees’ income. … The tax on insurance companies would have the same desired effect as a cap on the exclusion, because it would encourage companies to drive down plan costs. But it might be politically easier because the tax burden would not fall directly on workers.”
W. Post reports Baucus still on a relatively slow track: “…to the chagrin of White House officials, Baucus would not commit to presenting a completed product this week.”
Baucus under renewed pressure from grassroots. Politico: “Democracy for America and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee conducted a four-day, online poll of their members, and with about 64,000 votes cast, Baucus beat seven other Democratic senators as the lawmaker whose arm is most in need of twisting over health care reform. And so on Wednesday, an ad will begin airing in Montana charging Baucus with choosing monied interests over average voters who want the public insurance option.”
W. Post highlights Baucus acceptance of campaign cash from health care lobbyists. “Top health executives and lobbyists have continued to flock to the senator’s often extravagant fundraising events in recent months. During a Senate break in late June, for example, Baucus held his 10th annual fly-fishing and golfing weekend in Big Sky, Mont., for a minimum donation of $2,500. Later this month comes ‘Camp Baucus,’ a ‘trip for the whole family’ that adds horseback riding and hiking to the list of activities. To avoid any appearance of favoritism, his aides say, Baucus quietly began refusing contributions from health-care political action committees after June 1. But the policy does not apply to lobbyists or corporate executives, who continued to make donations, disclosure records show. ”
Drug lobby spending big. AP: “The drug industry’s trade group and one of the nation’s biggest pharmaceutical companies reported spending more money than other health care organizations on lobbying in the second quarter of this year. With the fight over President Barack Obama’s effort to revamp the nation’s health care system escalating, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America said it spent $6.2 million lobbying in April, May and June, according to reports to Congress due Monday. Pfizer Inc., the New York-based producer of numerous drugs, ranked second in the health care sector at $5.6 million.”
W. Post’s Milbank mocks RNC chair Michael Steele for mouthing the words from a political strategy memo bent on obstruction.
Change.org’s Tim Foley pushes back on the notion that momentum has slowed: “…if this is what being bogged down looks like, then heck, bog me down every week.”
Movin’ Meat mocks the “don’t rush” talking point: “Their tactic now is kind of laughable — that the process has been ‘rushed.’ It started before the inauguration, and has played out over months and months … Just to be clear: it is the fault of the Democrats, in particular Max Baucus, that they are in this fix. Much time has been wasted in trying to find a mythical bipartisan solution to the vexing policy issues within reform: public insurance, financing, provider reimbursement. Yes, it would have been nice if a truly bipartisan bill were possible, but it is becoming increasingly clear that the republicans in power are not interested in good faith participation in reform.”
Senate Climate Hearing Today
Senate environmental cmte to focus on green jobs in morning climate bill hearing.
WSJ on fierce ad wars targeting freshman Dem who voted for House bill.
Climate Progress’ Joe Romm tells Sen. Dorgan what he wants out of the House climate bill is actually in the House climate bill. “Dorgan’s concerns about speculators and market fraud … are ones that the authors of Waxman-Markey were quite aware of when they wrote the bill.
Growth Outlook Uncertain
Larry Summers talks to Bloomberg on future growth, bank reform: “White House National Economic Council Director Lawrence Summers chastised some banks that received government aid for not doing enough to reduce foreclosures, while declaring that next year’s economic growth pace is ‘in doubt.’ … ‘The pace of growth next year, I think, is very much in doubt and difficult to predict,’ Summers said. That ‘will depend crucially on our effectiveness in implementing the programs that have been legislated’ and what Congress may do on health care, financial regulation and energy, he said … Summers called the banking industry’s mortgage-relief efforts ‘substantially variable’ from company to company … Summers repeated the Obama administration’s call for stricter regulation of financial firms that may be considered ‘too big to fail.’ Those banks and other companies should face higher capital requirements and limits on leverage, which would essentially tax their large and interconnected status, he said.
Bernanke pens WSJ oped on inflation strategy: “My colleagues and I believe that accommodative policies will likely be warranted for an extended period. At some point, however, as economic recovery takes hold, we will need to tighten monetary policy to prevent the emergence of an inflation problem down the road. The Federal Open Market Committee, which is responsible for setting U.S. monetary policy, has devoted considerable time to issues relating to an exit strategy. We are confident we have the necessary tools to withdraw policy accommodation, when that becomes appropriate, in a smooth and timely manner.”
Dems Coming Around on F-22 Fight
Politico reports WH may win battle to scrap more F-22s: “With a vote set for high noon on Tuesday, the political tide in the Senate has shifted to now favor the White House and Pentagon in their pivotal fight to strike new procurement funds for the F-22 fighter. Just last week, conventional wisdom held that the $1.75 billion authorization would easily survive a challenge on the floor. But fearful of embarrassing President Barack Obama, Democrats appear to be moving back toward the White House, which has mounted its own late-breaking campaign to win the last votes.”
Terrance Heath contributed to the making of this Breakfast