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: #OccupytheSuperCommittee
OurFuture.org’s Daniel Marans: “Days after the tents were ripped out of Zucotti Park in New York, hundreds of Americans brought the fight for the 99% to the nation’s capital on Thursday with a ‘Wake-Up Congress’ rally calling for the Super Committee to support ‘Jobs, Not Cuts’ … [Sen. Bernie] Sanders said, ‘But the reality is that the deficit was caused by two wars not paid for, huge tax breaks for the wealthiest people in this country, and a recession as a result of the greed, recklessness and illegal behavior on Wall Street. And if those are the causes of the deficit and the national debt I will be damned if we’re going to balance the budget on the backs of the elderly, the sick, children, and the poor.’”
Automatic Military Cuts More Likely Than Medicare Cuts
“Supercommittee talks on brink of collapse” reports Politico: “Democrats appeared to be working on a new offer Thursday evening, but Republicans said they were not working on a fresh proposal. Staff level discussions were ongoing, aides said, but there was not much optimism.”
Bush tax cuts remain obstacle to “Super Committee” deal. NYT: “Democrats said they had radically reduced their demands and would go along with the Republicans’ latest proposal for $401 billion of additional revenue over 10 years, down from the Democrats original proposal for $1.3 trillion. But committee members do not agree on how to measure new revenue. Republicans would permanently extend the tax cuts that were adopted in 2001 and 2003 under President George W. Bush and are scheduled to expire at the end of next year. Democrats would defer a decision on that issue and raise the new revenue by limiting or eliminating various tax deductions and credits.”
Dems see expiration of Bush tax cuts as key leverage. W. Post: “If the supercommittee fails, many lawmakers and senior aides say a debt-reduction deal is unlikely to be completed until after the November 2012 elections. That’s when Congress will face the prospect of not only unprecedented cuts to the Pentagon and other agency budgets, but also the expiration of George W. Bush-era tax cuts — an outcome that would raise taxes for virtually every American in January 2013. Some Democrats say they would have more leverage to force Republicans to consider taxes as part of a debt-reduction deal as that tax increase — one of the largest in U.S. history — drew closer. Republicans, aware of that tactical disadvantage, have fought to extend the Bush tax cuts as part of supercommittee negotiations.”
NYT’s Paul Krugman cheers for “Super Committee” failure: “…history tells us that the Republican Party would renege on its side of any deal as soon as it got the chance … any deal reached now would, in practice, be nothing more than a deal to slash Social Security and Medicare, with no lasting improvement in the deficit.”
Republicans try to blame President for failing to work for compromise. The Hill: “‘We’re in the two-minute drill and closing in on a “Hail Mary” and the quarterback is on the sidelines,’ [said Sen. Dan Coats] … ‘I think it would have been helpful all along the process. He’s not been involved,’ ["Super Commitee" member Rep. Dave] Camp told The Hill. But when asked if Obama’s involvement was essential to striking a deal, Camp paused for several seconds and declined comment.”
With likely “Super” failure, debt limit deal looks better to some Dems. The Hill: “…Democrats essentially said the GOP would have to choose between tax increases or cuts to the military … Democrats say they are in the driver’s seat. They note that Republicans are already vowing to torpedo the sequestration cuts to the Defense Department, something Democrats say they will not go along with.”
“Day Of Action” as “Occupy” movement floods the streets nationwide. OurFuture’s Dave Johnson rounds up the action.
Occupy movement continues to grow as unions join. McClatchy: “The protests Thursday in many cities included bridges as a backdrop — mirroring President Barack Obama’s call for Congress to boost the economy by spending money on public projects. Indeed, the Washington protesters appeared at the same bridge where Obama appeared earlier this month to press Congress to pass his $447 billion jobs package, which calls for spending billions on road and bridge repair. ‘This is our way to join with the occupiers, the rest of the labor movement, community allies to declare a state of economic emergency in this country,’ said Mary Kay Henry, the president of the Service Employees International Union…”
Occupy prepares to shift tactics. NY Mag: “The new message: Leave the parks and take to the streets; occupy offices, bridges, subways, and Ivy League schools.”
Energy Sec Chu explains to House cmte why Solyndra is no scandal. The Hill: “Chu responded: ‘Well, it is extremely unfortunate what has happened with Solyndra. Was there incompetence? Was there any influence of a political nature? I would have to say no.’ The Energy Department couldn’t have predicted that the cost of solar panels would drop, driving Solyndra and other U.S. solar manufacturers toward financial collapse, Chu said. ‘This company and several others got caught in a very, very bad tsunami,’ Chu said.”
Affordable housing takes hit in latest spending bill. W. Post: “Housing advocates immediately condemned the nearly 38 percent cut to the HOME Investment Partnerships Program, which for two decades has provided grants to local governments for housing construction and renovation, home repairs and down payment assistance. Under a partial budget bill passed by the House and Senate on Thursday, the HOME program’s budget would drop to $1 billion, down from $1.6 billion last year. ‘I’ve never seen anything else that steep,’ said Sheila Crowley, president of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. ‘The impact is huge. It will have a ripple effect throughout the system.’”
CFPB soldiers on despite GOP block of director’s nomination. The Hill: “… the CFPB has embarked on a number of projects. It is working on simplifying forms for mortgages and student loans, and has begun examining banks for compliance with consumer financial protection laws. …”
More than 1 in 10 families being help with federal food aid to stave off poverty, new Census report finds reports NYT’s Catherine Rampell.