Noontime News is a snapshot of our RSS feeds from the noon (Eastern time) hour.
From Josh Marshall, commentary: “The Politico has a story up tonight about how and why the bipartisan, everybody-get-along summit between President Obama and congressional Republicans ended up getting postponed.”
“Rep.-elect (and physician) Andy Harris (R-MD) stood up at an orientation of newly elected members, flabbergasted that he’d have to wait a month for his government-provided private health insurance to kick in.
“This is the only employer I’ve ever worked for where you don’t get coverage the first day you are employed,” he reportedly complained, outraged by the delay.
For a man of the people, that’s a pretty impressive résumé. Most workers in this country have to wait weeks between their first day on the job and the day their health insurance kicks in. Sometimes more.”
“Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) told reporters on Tuesday that the decision by the ethics committee that Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) was guilty on 11 ethics counts was “sad” for a man he called a longtime friend.
“This is what happens sometimes in life,” Engel said. “I’m sorry to see this happen.”
“It is sad, he’s been in office for 40 years,” he added.
Engel said that the ethics violations that Rangel was found to guilty of were very serious.”
“Venomous shock jock Rush Limbaugh described President Obama as a “juvenile delinquent” in a rant on his radio show yesterday, and then posted the full transcript, which he titled “Obama’s Administration is Graffiti on the Walls of American History,” accompanied by a picture of “Obama graffiti” defacing Mount Rushmore. Andrew Sullivan highlights Limabugh’s racially-tinged comments:
This guy is an utter wrecking ball all by himself on the world stage to the point now of getting embarrassing. This presidency of Obama’s, it doesn’t take much to irritate the left. Try this: “Barack Obama’s presidency is graffiti on the walls of American history.” That’s what his administration is. No more than graffiti on the walls of American history. We have a juvenile delinquent for a president who has ruined so much public and private property, not even his gang is making much of an effort here to protect him. It’s an utter disaster.”
“One of the key votes that will take place during the lame duck congressional session that began yesterday is what to do with the Bush tax cuts. President Obama and congressional Democrats want to extend the cuts for just middle class families, noting that extending the cuts for the richest two percent of Americans will add $830 billion to deficit over the next ten years. Republicans demand an extension of all the cuts, but have so far failed to put forward any convincing (or truthful) arguments explaining why giving the wealthiest Americans another tax break is the best use of almost a trillion dollars while the nation faces painful cuts to valuable government programs.
Today, a compromise emerged, which would split the issue into two votes — one for extending the tax cuts for the middle class, and another for the rich.
But as soon as the potential deal was floated by White House allies, a leading Republicans shot it down. Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI), who plays a key role in GOP tax policy as the ranking member on the House Ways and Means Committee, which handles taxes, “said the GOP will block any proposal that extends tax cuts for the middle class for a longer period than those for the wealthy.” If Democrats insist on a longer period for the middle class cuts, “I think this issue will end up getting kicked into next year,” Camp said.”
“As ThinkProgress and The Progress Report have documented, there is a growing coalition of both Tea Party-backed conservatives and stalwart progressives who are coming together to demand cuts to the bloated defense budget. This coalition was given further momentum last week, when the co-chairs of President Obama’s Deficit Reduction Commission released a report that calls for $100 billion in defense cuts.
This morning, Defense Secretary Robert Gates pushed back against this movement for defense cuts. Speaking at the Wall Street Journal CEO Council, Gates revealed that he had told the co-chairs of the deficit commission that it would be “catastrophic” to cut defense spending by 10 percent. He told attendees today that cutting defense spending requires a “scalpel, not a meat axe,” and concluded, “When it comes to the deficit, the Department of Defense is not the problem“.
“As Congress launches into the lame duck session, congressional Republicans are demanding an extension of all the Bush tax cuts, even for the wealthiest two percent of Americans, at an added cost to the deficit of $830 billion over the next ten years. Meanwhile, they have refused to support a continuation of unemployment benefits, which are set to expire next month, claiming that a continuation “will only add to the deficit.” “
“Last Friday, a group of recently-elected Republican lawmakers gathered in Baltimore for a retreat sponsored by FreedomWorks, a tea party astroturf group run by corporate lobbyists. ThinkProgress traveled to the event, and spoke to several of the new members about their views on the vote to raise the debt ceiling, a necessary legislative item to prevent the United States government from defaulting on its debt entirely, which would cause a global economic tailspin.
Rep.-elect Andy Harris (R-MD) told us that he would absolutely vote against raising the debt ceiling. Harris — who made headlines this morning after he staged a tantrum upon learning that he had to wait a few weeks before being fully enrolled in taxpayer-subsidized health care for federal employees — explained that he would have the government default as “an important message to send to the American people.” Similarly, Sen.-elect Mike Lee (R-UT) reiterated that he would have the government default on its debt to show that Republicans won’t “slip into the same mindset” of the past.”
“President Obama reiterated his support for the DREAM Act during a meeting this afternoon with Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.Y.) and Reps. Nydia Velazquez (D-N.Y.) and Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), all of the pro-immigration reform Congressional Hispanic Caucus. Obama said he believes Congress should act on the issue before adjourning.
Both Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) have signaled they hope to hold votes this session on the act, which would allow some undocumented young people to gain legal status if they attended college or served in the military for two years.”
“Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has decided to delay a procedural vote on a bill to encourage the development of electric and natural gas vehicles.
Regan Lachapelle, Reid’s spokeswoman, said canceling the cloture vote on the bill, set for tomorrow, in favor of continuing discussion with Republicans will give the legislation a better chance of passing before the end of the year.”
“Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) announced last month that she wants to hold weekly “Constitution classes” for new members of Congress in the hopes of preventing them from being “co-opted into the Washington system.” She’s already announced several people she wants to teach the classes, including David Barton, a controversial figure whose ideas about the constitution and the founding fathers have drawn sharp criticism from both religious and secular groups.
Barton has said the idea of separation of church and state is a myth and suggested the federal government should regulate homosexuality. His association with reported anti-Semitic groups prompted the Anti-Defamation League to condemn him earlier this year. He has called holding congressional sessions on Sunday unconstitutional and he has stated that United States’ borders were drawn by God.”
“Several million dollars will be paid to settle claims that British security agencies colluded in their torture.”
“The Irish government was locked in discussions on Tuesday night over a financial rescue package intended to support Ireland’s failed banks.”
Reader Comments Welcome. Share news stories you have seen here…please be sure to attribute them. Comments with violations of Fair Use guidelines may be edited.