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Tuesday, June 23, 2009
As His Agenda Collapses On Capitol Hill, Obama Hopes For Press Conference Hail Mary Today
By News Release @ 10:49 AM :: 6875 Views :: National News, Ethics

NBC's Chuck Todd: "The honeymoon is coming to an end for President Obama, but it's not personal. It's professional, as now the public appears to be judging the president on some of his actions." (NBC's "Nightly News," 6/17/09)


CBO Concludes Democrat Plan Increases Federal Deficit By $1 Trillion And Counting Over Next Decade. "[E]nacting the proposal would result in a net increase in federal budget deficits of about $1.0 trillion over the 2010-2019 period. ... It is important to note, however, that those figures do not represent a formal or complete cost estimate for the draft legislation ..." (Douglas W. Elmendorf, Congressional Budget Office Director, Letter to Senator Edward M. Kennedy, 6/15/09)

Democrats' Plan Fails To Insure 36 Million Americans. "The analysis says that the number of uninsured Americans, now estimated at around 50 million, would decrease to about 36 million once the bill was fully implemented." ("CBO: Senate Bill $1 Trillion Over 10 Years," The Associated Press, 6/15/09)

House Democrats Have "Lots Of Potential Targets For Higher Taxes" To Pay For Government-Run Health Care. "House Democrats have lots of potential targets for higher taxes as they aim to expand health care coverage to reach the roughly 50 million that experts say are uninsured. Also under consideration are higher alcohol taxes, increases to the Medicare payroll tax and a value-added tax, a sort of national sales tax, of up to 1.5 percent or more ... The [other] tax options include: increasing the price of soda and other sugary drinks by 10 cents a can, applying a potential 2 percent income tax increase to single taxpayers earning more than $200,000 a year and households earning more than $250,000, a new employer payroll tax could target 3 percent of employers' health care expenditures, taxing employer-provided health insurance benefits above certain levels ... House Democrats planned to unveil a draft of their sweeping health care bill Friday ... The draft, being released at a news conference ... was not expected to mention the potentially unpopular tax options." (Erica Werner, "House Eyes New Taxes As Senators Pare Health Bill," The Associated Press, 6/19/09)

CBO Director Says Plans For Government-Run Health Care Would Worsen Budget Outlook. "President Obama's plan to expand health coverage to the uninsured is likely to dig the nation deeper into debt unless policymakers adopt politically painful controls on spending, such as sharp reductions in payments to doctors, hospitals and other providers, congressional budget analysts said yesterday ... 'Without meaningful reforms, the substantial costs of many current proposals . . . would be much more likely to worsen the long-run budget outlook than to improve it,' he said. ..." (Lori Montgomery, Shailagh Murray And Ceci Connolly, "Obama's Health Plan Needs Spending Controls, CBO Says," The Wash ington Post, 6/17/09)

Public Knows That Obama Has No Plan To Deal With Deficits. "A substantial majority of Americans say President Obama has not developed a strategy to deal with the budget deficit, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll ... Six in 10 people surveyed said the administration has yet to develop a clear plan for dealing with the deficit, including 65 percent of independents." (Jeff Zeleny and Dalia Sussman, "Obama Poll Sees Doubt on Budget and Health Care," The New York Times, 6/17/09)


Democrats Balking At Job-Killing National Energy Tax. "[S]everal Democratic aides noted that with the economy in a deep recession, many vulnerable Democrats might be loath to vote for anything that could be blamed for higher utility bills. 'With the economy the way that it is, I don't know that there's going to be the stomach to pass a bill that might raise people's utility and gas rates,' one Senate Democratic staffer said." (Emily Pierce & Steven T. Dennis, "House Climate Bill Facing Senate Headwinds," Roll Call, 5/18//09)

No Agreement Among Democrats Despite Pressure From Obama Administration. "House Democrats still lack agreement on key details of a comprehensive global warming and energy bill despite intervention from several top Obama administration officials..." (Darren Samuelsohn, "House Climate Bill Remains In Holding Pattern," The New York Times, 6/22/09)

Dem Leadership Attempting To Ram Bill Through Without Consulting Fellow Rank-And-File Democrats.  "And significantly, four conservative Blue Dog Democrats - Reps. Mike Ross (Ark.), John Barrow (Ga.), Charlie Melancon (La.), and Jim Matheson (Utah) - voted against the bill in committee, which could portend trouble for it on the House floor and in the Senate. Ross and other Blue Dogs had complained loudly that Waxman and other key Democrats did not bring them in early enough in the drafting of the health care or cap-and-trade bills." (Steven T. Dennis, "Democrats Plan an Offensive; Leaders Looking to Legislate," Roll Call, 5/26/09)

Discussions Among House Democrats "Blew Up." "House Agriculture Chairman Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) on Friday said climate change bill negotiators are heading back to the drawing board after discussions between Democrats 'blew up last night' ... 'It's a whole new concept being brought in at the last minute,' said Collin Peterson (D- MN). 'Many didn't like it ... I'm tired of this running around in circles.'" (Jennifer Bendery, "Peterson: Democrats Back to Square One on Climate Bill," Roll Call, 6/19/09)


In January, Administration Report Said Unemployment Would Only Reach 8 Percent This Year With Stimulus. "In January, the incoming administration predicted in a white paper study that without a huge stimulus package, unemployment would reach just over 8%, and would be contained at under 8% with a stimulus package." (Jake Tapper, "President Obama Predicts Unemployment Will Hit 10% This Year," ABC News' "Political Punch" Blog, 6/16/09)

But Now Obama Says Unemployment Will Reach 10 Percent This Year. AL HUNT OF BLOOMBERG: "Do you think that unemployment will reach 10%?" PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: "Yes." HUNT: "This year?" OBAMA: "Yes." (Bloomberg, 6/16/09)

Associated Press: Obama's Claim That Stimulus Has Saved 150,000 Jobs "So Murky It Can Never Be Verified." "Obama faces souring public opinion over his handling of the economy, which has shed 1.6 million jobs since the stimulus was signed in February. That total has far overshadowed White House announcements estimating the effort has saved 150,000 jobs, a figure that is so murky it can never be verified." (Brett J. Blackledge & Matt Apuzzo, "Spin Meter: Obama's New 'Accelerated' Recovery Plan Is Neither New Nor Accelerated," The Associated Press, 6/9/09)

Majority Of Americans Say Obama Economic Policies Have No Effect Or Make Conditions Worse. "[W}ith fewer than half of Americans saying they approve of how he has handled health care and the effort to save General Motors and Chrysler. A majority of people said his policies have had either no effect yet on improving the economy or had made it worse ..." (Jeff Zeleny, "Obama Poll Sees Doubt on Budget and Health Care", The New York Times, 6/17/09)


Simon Johnson, Senior Fellow At Peterson Institute For International Economics: History Proves We Should Not Give Federal Reserve More Power. "First and foremost, ]Obama[ says the Federal Reserve will become the official 'system risk regulator'... But in principle the Fed had exactly this kind of leadership role before -- and under both Alan Greenspan and Ben Bernanke it was a reckless cheerleader and facilitator for the unsustainable real estate boom. If the Fed had been stronger before, the crisis now would be worse." (Simon Johnson, "The Defanging Of Obama's Regulation Plan," The New York Times' "Economix" Blog, 6/18/09)

Senator Mark Warner (D-VA): Giving One Institution Too Much Power Dangerous.  "We have resisted creating an all powerful central bank to this point, and the experiences of countries which have concentrated too much power in one entity serve as cautionary tales. The Fed and Treasury over the past year struck "private deals" with the largest and most powerful financial institutions that put smaller, less powerful institutions "at a competitive disadvantage. An old African proverb says that when elephants dance, the grass gets trampled. We've got a trampled grass problem now. I don't think we can solve it with bigger elephants -- whether they are regulators or institutions." (Sudeep Reddy, "Sen. Warner Proposes 'Systemic Risk' Council," T he Wall Street Journal's "Real Time Economics" Blog, 6/16/09)

Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA): Giving Power To Federal Reserve Means Little To No Accountability. "I'm concerned about giving all this additional power to the Fed, while at least the Federal Reserve's 12 branches are not even governmental entities. Their boards are selected by bank executives and are not responsive to the electorate in this democracy." (MSNBC's "Live," 6/17/09)

USA Today Editorial: Obama's Plan Will Create Bureaucratic Turf Wars.  "The most worrisome aspect of Obama's plan -- which would create both a Consumer Financial Protection Agency and a Financial Services Oversight Council -- is its potential to spawn turf wars and bureaucratic bloat." (Editorial, "Our View On Preventing Economic Excess: Obama Plugs Financial Holes, But Opens Door To Bloat," USA Today, 6/18/09)

Associated Press: Obama's Plan Will Not Improve Efficiency. "]T[he plan would do little to streamline the alphabet soup of agencies that oversee the financial sector..." (Jim Kuhnhenn & Martin Crutsinger, "New Financial Rules: Major Changes For Big, Small," The Associated Press, 6/17/09)


  • OBAMA PLEDGED: "When There Is A Bill That Ends Up On My Desk As President, You Will Have Five Days To Look Online And Find Out What's In It Before I Sign it." (Sen. Barack Obama, Remarks of Senator Barack Obama: Taking Our Government Back, Manchester, NH, 6/22/07)

BUT NOW: Obama "Has Almost Never" Waited Five Days Before Signing Legislation. "During the presidential campaign, Barack Obama promised that once a bill was passed by Congress, the White House would post it online for five days before he signed it... Five months into his administration, Mr. Obama has signed two dozen bills, but he has almost never waited five days." (Katharine Q. Seelye, "White House Changes The Terms Of A Campaign Pledge About Posting Bills Online," The New York Times, 6/22/09)

  • OBAMA PLEDGED: "My Administration Is Committed To Creating An Unprecedented Level Of Openness In Government." (President Barack Obama, "Memorandum For The Heads Of Executive Departments And Agencies: Transparency and Open Government," Press Release, 1/21/09)

BUT NOW: Obama Administration Refuses To Disclose White House Visitors Logs After Meeting Privately With Coal Executives. "]L[ast week public-interest groups were dismayed when his own administration rejected a Freedom of Information Act request for Secret Service logs showing the identities of coal executives who had visited the White House to discuss Obama's 'clean coal' policies... The refusal, approved by White House counsel Greg Craig's office, is the latest in a series of cases in which Obama officials have opted against public disclo sure." (Michael Isikoff, "Obama Closes Doors On Openness," Newsweek, 6/20/09)


RELATED Coverage of news conference:


Obama says Iran must govern through 'consent, not coercion'...
World 'appalled and outraged' by regime's violence...
U.S. must 'bear witness' to struggle while respecting Iran's sovereignty...

'Big questions' about legitimacy of results...
Govt-run health care could trump private...
Wants new council to help auto industry...
Pushes for 'clean energy transformation'...



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