Budget: Travelling from Annandale, Virginia, to Palo Alto, California, President Obama kicks off his first 2012 campaign tour this week promising to raise taxes and ration health care. Getting out of Washington is probably the best move for the president since nothing of substance is likely to pass both houses of Congress before September 30th. That is the date that the FY 2011 budget passed last Thursday expires. Considering all their anti-continuing resolution rhetoric, the GOP House will be under pressure to come to an agreement on the FY 2012 budget sometime before then. Bush National Economic Council director Keith Hennessey details what the president wants in a deal: 1) a small short-term bipartisan deficit reduction deal this year; 2) tax increases as part of this short-term deal, but abandon them as needed to get to a deficit reduction signing ceremony; 3) a signing ceremony for this bill to demonstrate the President can work with “reasonable Republicans”; 4) use the photo-op to build credibility with independents for November 2012; 5) demagogue on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid; 6) pick a fight over the top tax rates
Debt ceiling: Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner played debt ceiling boogeyman again yesterday, promising the world would end unless Congress approved a higher debt ceiling immediately. Geithner tried to present the vote as a done deal claiming that GOP leaders had already agreed to debt hike. Not mentioned by Geithner was Obama’s admission Friday that any debt ceiling vote will have to have accompanying spending cuts. Considering that conservatives in the House are furious over the almost non-existent cuts secured by the 2011 budget fight, Speaker Boehner better come up with some big and tangible concessions this time around.
Government union losses spread: Wisconsin officials will not declare Judge David Prosser the official winner until Wednesday, but on Friday they announced that government union candidate JoAnne Kloppenburg fell 7,316 votes short of avenging Gov. Scott Walker’s budget bill. The 7,000+ victory margin means no automatic recount and Kloppenburg now has till Wednesday to ask for one. Also in Wisconsin, police in Green Bay are investigating a break in at an office used by a group seeking to recall a Democratic state senator who fled to Illinois during the budget fight. Things don’t get any better for government unions in Detroit, where both the mayor and the schools chief are embracing a law passed by GOP Gov. Rick Snyder to rein in exorbitant union contracts.
2012 roundup: Facing down hostile government unions, Sarah Palin was a big hit at a Tea Party rally this Sunday in Madison, Wisconsin … In South Carolina, Haley Barbour won the Charleston County Republican Party straw poll Friday … Massachusetts Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick is making the most of the fifth anniversary of Mitt Romney‘s health care law … National Review‘s Andrew Stiles highlights Paul Ryan’s Sunday Face the Nation performance.