From Sen. Franken's You Tube page:
Sen. Franken spoke on the Senate floor about his new jobs bill, the Strengthening Our Economy Through Employment and Development (SEED) Act. The SEED Act, informally known as Cash for Jobs, would take $10 billion in existing funds from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) and re-allocate it to creating jobs in the private and public sectors.
From The Cafferty File:
President Obama has the chance to use tomorrow's State of the Union address to reset his agenda and refocus the attention of the American people.
It's been a rough week for the president and his party - since the Democrats lost control of Ted Kennedy's Senate seat in Massachusetts. Without their filibuster-proof majority, the president's signature issue of health care reform is on life support.
And the public doesn't appear too disappointed about that. A new poll shows 70 percent of Americans think the Democrats' loss of their super-majority is a good thing.
Meanwhile the president is expected to announce a three-year freeze on all non-security federal discretionary spending. He claims this could save $250 billion over 10 years - which is a start, but still just a drop in the bucket considering the country's $12.5 trillion debt.
And, expect some liberals - you know, the president's base - to push back hard. Already critics on the left are calling the proposed spending freeze a mistake of historic proportions. Some compare Mr. Obama to Republican Herbert Hoover, who failed to pull the U.S. out of the great depression.
Others liken this to Democrat FDR's move to cut back on government spending in 1937 - the economy tanked and so did the Democrats in the following midterm election.
There's lots more on the president's plate too, like the jobs situation - which doesn't show many signs of turning around. Unemployment is at 10 percent… up from seven percent when Mr. Obama took office.
Here’s my question to you: What should Pres. Obama emphasize in his State of the Union address tomorrow?
Newt Gingrich seems to think that the Republicans terrible alternative for a health care plan just needed some more publicity but the media didn't want to let the public know it existed. How I wish that were the case. Gingrich is repeating the new meme for the month which is that Democrats need to start over and try to work with Republicans now and they'll actually get some cooperation on the health care bill. Sorry Newt, but anyone who's been following what's going on knows the Republicans have no intention of working with the Democrats to pass anything.
Steve Benen reminds us of just how laughable Gingrich's assertions here are.
Throughout the lengthy debate on health care reform, Republicans refused to negotiate in good faith. Compromises were considered out of the question. Blatantly, demonstrably false claims were the norm. Perhaps worst of all, GOP leaders would embrace specific reform ideas, and when Democrats would agree, those same GOP leaders would reject the same measures they'd already endorsed.
The Republican plan was nothing short of laughable -- it did nothing for the uninsured, nothing for those with pre-existing conditions, and nothing for those worried about losing coverage when it's needed most. It was an entirely partisan plan, written in secret. The Republican proposal sought to create a system that "works better for people who don't need health care services, and much worse for people who actually are sick or who become sick in the future. It's basically a health un-insurance policy." And as we learned in November, the plan included provisions that "mirror the suggestions put forth by the lobbying entity of the private insurance industry way back in December 2008."
Indeed, the official Republican plan didn't even offer modest provisions that the party used to support. Roll Call reported at the time, "Under the GOP plan, insurance companies would still be allowed to exclude anyone with a pre-existing medical condition from coverage, there would be no national insurance exchange and businesses would not face any mandate to provide insurance nor individuals to buy it. Boehner also left out tax credits to help the poor and middle class buy insurance -- a central pillar of most GOP reform proposals and a key feature of a four-page outline Republican leaders released in June."
The plan was quickly labeled "a major embarrassment."
Transcript below the fold.
Harold Ford Jr. has the musky sack to not only change his address but also his political views.
Rachel Maddow feels the same way I do after listening to this pitch by the administration. Jared Bernstein did not say one thing that swayed me that this is a good idea. Listen to Evan Bayh? You've got to be kidding me. A spending freeze in the middle of an economic downturn is insane. And of course there's no freeze for defense spending or Homeland Security.
TPM has more on the proposal--Obama Administration To Propose Freezing Non-Military Discretionary Spending:
President Obama will propose freezing non-security discretionary government spending for the next three years, a sweeping plan to attempt deficit reduction that will save taxpayers $250 billion over 10 years.
When the administration releases its budget next week, the discretionary spending for government agencies from Health and Human Services to the Department of Treasury will be frozen at its 2010 level in fiscal years 2011, 2012 and 2013.
A senior administration official detailed the move, speaking on a condition of anonymity because Obama will announce his decision during his State of the Union address Wednesday night.
The cuts would target "duplicative," "ineffective" and "inefficient" spending withing government, the official said on a conference call with reporters.
"This is not a blunt, across-the-board freeze," the official said, adding that some agencies will see spending increases while some will see spending cuts as the total remains constant.
Exempted from the freeze would be Pentagon funding, and the budgets for Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security.
"We do need to reflect the fact that we remain at war," the official said, noting the president was able to win several battles on cutting Pentagon spending.
The official declined to discuss specifics but said the new plan would save taxpayers $250 billion over 10 years. Read on...
UPDATE: Jared Bernstein posted this response on The White House Blog to last night's interview. Budget Freeze-eology 101: Hatchets vs. Scalpels
Lieutenant Governor Andre Bauer compares kids who get free lunches in public schools to stray animals.
Don't we wish Orrin. Orrin Hatch pretends that the Republicans weren't involved in the process of putting together the health care bill. Sorry Senator but the ones who were completely shut out of the process were single-payer advocates. They weren't even allowed a seat at the table when Max Baucus was having his hearings. You and your party on the other hand were given ample opportunity to muck up the bill you refused to vote for later. I also can't believe he had the nerve to say the Senate passed the Health Committee bill when that's a blatant lie as well. The end result of that Senate bill was not what came out of the Health Committee and he knows it.
From Slate--This Is What "Bipartisanship" Looks Like:
What do the GOP amendments to this Senate health care bill actually say?
When the Senate health, education, labor, and pensions committee passed its health care bill Wednesday, the Obama administration hailed it as a "bipartisan" effort. No matter that it passed the panel on a strictly party-line vote, with all 13 Democrats voting for and all 10 Republicans voting against. It was bipartisan, administration officials explained, because it contained 160 Republican amendments. Republican senators said that characterization was absurd. After all, they said, most of the 160 amendments were technical, rather than substantive, changes. Lisa Murkowsi of Alaska told the New York Times that, while it was "pretty impressive" that 20 of her amendments were accepted, "they were all technical."
Who's right? There's no real way to resolve this debate without examining the content of these amendments, and the committee has yet to officially release them. But a Senate Republican source sent Slate a summary of many of the amendments, with a short description of each. (Download the Excel file here.) Disclaimer: This is an incomplete list. Of the 788 amendments filed, only 437 appear here. And of the 161 GOP amendments passed or accepted, we have confirmed only 80 as such. We hope to update the document as more information becomes available. Read on...
Transcript via CNN below the fold.