Each morning, Bill Scher and Terrance Heath serve up what progressives need to effect change on the kitchen-table issues families face: jobs, health care, green energy, financial reform, affordable education and retirement security.
MORNING MESSAGE: Social Security Cuts Off The Table! What About Medicare?
OurFuture.org’s Richard Eskow: “The decision to protect Social Security is a smart one, but if the President goes ahead with his plan to raise the Medicare age it will still be a political and policy disaster. The blowback won’t come from the ‘left,’ as Washington insiders might think, but from voters all across the political spectrum … The President should reject the Coburn-Lieberman-insurance industry proposal, and use this as an opportunity to demand that his opponents address the real source of our long-term spending problem: runaway profits for drug companies, insurance companies, and for-profit medical providers.”
White House Prepares Deficit Reduction Plan For Monday
WH pulls Social Security off the table, but Medicare plan unknown. Politico: “The shift away from Social Security will allow him to avoid a clash with his Democratic base over the popular retirement program at a time when he needs its support more than ever, both to push for his $447 billion jobs program and to buck up his lagging poll numbers. Medicare could be a different story, though, as the White House revisits some unpopular ideas from the talks with Boehner … Obama angered Democrats in July when he agreed to slice more than $250 billion from Medicare, in part, by gradually raising the eligibility age from 65 to 67 and hiking premiums for wealthier recipients. Those ideas remain under discussion…”
Super Cmte to meet in public again next Thursday reports Roll Call.
Speaker Slams Jobs Bill
Speaker Boehner opposes American Jobs Act. The Hill: “Boehner indirectly criticized the tax proposals in Obama’s jobs plan, saying they would only make the tax code ‘more complex’ at a time when both parties want to simplify the system … Boehner couched his address in bipartisan rhetoric and said some of Obama’s proposals, which he didn’t specify, offered ‘opportunities for common ground.’ But his speech is likely to significantly dim expectations for passage of many elements of the president’s plan. In pushing for comprehensive tax reform, Boehner criticized the kind of temporary tax credits that are central to Obama’s proposal.”
The Recovery Act funded plenty of infrastructure, notes Jared Bernstein: “One critique you’re beginning to hear about the infrastructure ideas in the President’s jobs proposal is that the Recovery Act’s infrastructure programs were some kind of bust, of never got started, or whatever. Demonstrably untrue. There’s no question that they did not get up-and-running as quickly as other parts of the program … but the fact is that these projects were solidly in the economy by last summer. The problem is we needed more of them this summer, and we’ll need more next summer as well.”
New data indicates manufacturing sector needs more help. W. Post’s Suzy Khimm: “Manufacturing output rose just 0.5 percent in August — a 3.8 percent increase over the previous August, but a sign of weakness overall … of the six states with the most jobless claims last week, five cite manufacturing layoffs as one of the driving factors … But President Obama didn’t single out manufacturers for a special help in his jobs plan, and stimulus money funding innovations in the industry has since expired.”
Transportation, FAA funding bill passes after concession made to Sen. Tom Coburn. Bloomberg: “He had demanded that the bill, which the House approved on Tuesday, include a provision to let states opt out of a requirement to use some highway grant money for bike paths and other so-called enhancements.”
House passes anti-NLRB bill, but DOA in Senate. DailyKos’ Laura Clawson: “The vote was 238 to 186, with eight Democrats and seven Republicans crossing party lines. Although the bill was spurred by the NLRB’s complaint against Boeing, Boeing has declined to endorse the bill.”
WH Stands By Clean Energy
White House doubles down on investing in clean energy. The Hill: “The Energy Department (DOE) is not backing down in its efforts to support clean energy companies, despite Republicans pummeling the Obama administration for approving a $535 million loan guarantee to a now-bankrupt solar firm. The department could approve as many as 15 renewable energy loan guarantees by the end of the month when a program launched under the stimulus law ends.”
Leading GOP critic of green jobs initiative that backed Solyndra praised program when it funded local company. E&ENews: “Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.), who is leading GOP attacks on the Obama administration’s use of stimulus money to promote green jobs, was a big fan of at least one federal green jobs effort — a $95.5 million grant to a company in his district. Last March, Stearns attended a groundbreaking ceremony for a battery manufacturing plant on the outskirts of Jacksonville that was built to make lithium-ion battery cells for military hybrid vehicles and solar and wind energy storage. Nearly half the cash for the new Saft America Inc. facility was provided through a cost-sharing arrangement funded through the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act.”
The modern conservative view on health care is “Free to Die” argues NYT’s Paul Krugman: ” One relatively bright spot [in the latest poverty numbers] was health care for children: the percentage of children without health coverage was lower in 2010 than before the recession, largely thanks to the 2009 expansion of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, or S-chip. And the reason S-chip was expanded in 2009 but not earlier was, of course, that former President George W. Bush blocked earlier attempts to cover more children — to the cheers of many on the right. Did I mention that one in six children in Texas lacks health insurance, the second-highest rate in the nation?”
House GOP admits it can’t pass appropriations bills on time, reverts to stopgap bill to keep government open past this month. NYT: “The stopgap measure maintains spending for the first 49 days of the fiscal year, through Nov. 18, with a 1.5 percent across-the-board cut from current levels … [The bill] includes $3.65 billion in assistance for people affected by Hurricane Irene … and other natural disasters. Of this amount, $1 billion would be offset by cutting a loan guarantee program for production of more fuel-efficient cars. Republicans’ insistence on the offset infuriated Democrats, who said no such offset had been required for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.”
House Dems angry at WH over mortgage policy. The Hill: “‘The administration has been AWOL on this issue,” charged Rep. Dennis Cardoza (D-Calif.), ‘and the American people are suffering because of the mismanagement.’ … The Democrats were fired up after the administration declined their request for a briefing with Edward DeMarco, the acting director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), on the specifics of the White House plan …”
W. Post looks at all the ways GOP is trying to suppress the vote in 2012: “They have curbed early voting, rolled back voting rights for ex-felons and passed stricter voter ID laws. Taken together, the measures could have a significant and negative effect on President Obama’s reelection efforts if they keep young people and minorities away from the polls … Pennsylvania lawmakers are considering the latest, and perhaps most potent, legislation, a measure that would divvy up electoral votes by congressional district rather than use the winner-takes-all approach. The change would almost ensure a net gain of 20 to 24 GOP electoral votes in the 2012 presidential election.”