MORNING MESSAGE: If You Don’t Own An Ark, Vote For The “Back To Work” Budget
OurFuture.org’s Terrance Heath: “It’s somewhat fitting that a 30-foot geyser erupted from a broken water main practically around the corner from my home the night before the the American Society of Civil Engineers gave America a ‘D+’ on its 2013 infrastructure report card, and on the eve of a congressional vote on the only budget that includes the kind of infrastructure investment the country needs … [The ASCE] recommends $3.6 trillion in infrastructure investment by 2020 … The only budget in Washington that come close to addressing the country’s infrastructure needs is the Congressional Progressive Caucus’ ‘Back to Work Budget.’”
House Budget Votes Today
House budget votes expected today. MSNBC.com: “In addition to House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) budget, there is the Senate Democrats’ budget, the House Democrats’ budget, the Congressional Progressive Caucus budget, the Congressional Black Caucus budget and the Republican Study Committee budget … Most of the budgets are expected to be voted on in the House of Representatives Wednesday. Only the Ryan budget is expect to pass, albeit on a party-line vote.”
“Progressives’ budget merits a closer look” writes Katrina vanden Heuvel in W. Post: “It’s a detailed plan to create nearly 7 million jobs while bringing down the deficit by $4.4 trillion over a decade. It does this the right way: higher taxes on the wealthiest (including a 49 percent rate on incomes over a billion — yes, billion — dollars); a financial transaction tax that would discourage reckless speculation; a long-awaited end to tax advantages for outsourcers and corporate jets; a forward-looking carbon tax; a public option for health insurance; sensible military cuts; and investment in infrastructure, school construction, child care, and putting teachers and firefighters back to work.”
Click here to sign the petition supporting the Back The Work budget, and opposing the Ryan budget then call your House representative at (202) 224-3121.
House GOP threatening to hold debt ceiling hostage until they get Social Security cuts. Politico: “House Speaker John Boehner’s majority has cut so deep into discretionary spending, they know they cannot go any deeper. So this time, to raise the nation’s debt cap — something GOP leadership estimates is likely to happen in July — they are moving on to tweaking entitlements … House GOP leadership is also eyeing several bills to hike the debt cap with different budgetary reforms — those bills might hit the floor as soon as May. One option under discussion includes trying to tie tax reform to the debt ceiling. Republicans are also mulling another path, which would tether entitlement reforms Obama has previously supported to the debt ceiling. Those reforms include increasing the Medicare eligibility age, means testing Medicare and changing the formula for calculating government benefits.”
Senate Nears Vote On Keeping Government Open
Demand for sequester fix to help rural airports slowing down Senate bill to keep government open. Politico: “…Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) … spent the day pretty much objecting to everything unless he was promised a vote on his amendment to protect funding for air traffic controllers at rural airports in states like his own … Reid has the clock on his side. Tuesday evening he scheduled a second cloture vote for Wednesday morning in hopes of further strengthening his hand. And Democrats believe he can win passage Thursday morning even if Moran holds out that long. The big losers could then be the meat industry, if the standoff denies packers the chance [for an amendment] to add money for inspectors. Already there is at least anecdotal evidence that the sequester is hurting cattle prices.”
“Senate Republicans Not Eager To Vote On Ryan Budget” reports TPM: “… Republicans may not offer the Ryan plan as an amendment when Democrats bring up their budget resolution for a vote later this week … Regardless, the broad goals of what Senate Republicans say they are considering aren’t that different from Ryan’s budget blueprint. [Sen. Jeff Sessions] said he intends to offer an amendment that may not be identical to Ryan’s plan but ‘does put us on a path to balancing the budget … over 10 years, with growth and without taxes.’”
Step Closer For Undocumented To Become Citizens
“G.O.P. Opposition to Immigration Law Is Falling Away” reports NYT: “[Sen. Rand] Paul’s comments provided strong new evidence that the rising generation of conservative leaders is turning against the Republican argument that those who enter the country illegally should be denied the chance to become permanent residents … ‘Now, you have the standard-bearer of the Tea Party saying that we should welcome undocumented immigrants as Americans,’ said Frank Sharry, executive director of America’s Voice, a pro-immigration group. ‘It’s one of the fastest turnarounds I’ve seen on any issue. It’s mind-blowing.’ … But it remains to be seen how Republican voters and conservative activists across the country will respond …”
Paul’s stand may bring other conservatives along. Politico: “‘What Rand Paul says matters more to me than what the [Republican National Committee] says,’ said Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), who chairs the House Judiciary subcommittee on immigration. ‘Everyone is saying the same thing, and it’s going to be how arduous is the path, how long does the path take, what are the requirements in the path and border security, border security, border security.’”
Federal workers lead rally to repeal sequestration today at 12 PM ET at the Dept. of Labor.
Russian gas company proposes Cyprus alternative that would benefit itself. NYT: “Rather than tax deposits, Cyprus could raise money to right its economy by selling Gazprom exploration rights to offshore gas deposits in the Mediterranean Sea … [The move] highlighted the deep dependence of Russia’s business and political elite on Cypriot offshore banking. They have used it to avoid taxes and political risk at home and to access Cyprus’s relatively reliable court system to adjudicate disputes.”