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Member since: Fri Sep 17, 2004, 03:59 PM
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Biden Greets Returning EPA Workers: 'I Brought Some Muffins!

Vice President Joe Biden showed up at the Environmental Protection Agency's headquarters bearing muffins Thursday morning, and greeted employees as they returned to work after the 16-day government shutdown.

“I brought some muffins!” Biden said when he arrived, placing few containers of “Coffee Cake Bites” on the EPA security desk, per a White House pool report.

The vice president spotted a sign on the desk that read, “All visitors must be escorted at all times.” Biden announced: “I’d like to be escorted!”


“Would you like a muffin? The vice president brought some muffins,” McCarthy said, per the pool report. A line formed, and Biden worried aloud: “I didn’t bring enough muffins!”


Elizabeth Warren (once again) speaks for me: "So I'm Relieved, But I'm Also Pretty Angry"

I'm glad that the government shutdown has ended, and I'm relieved that we didn't default on our debt.
But I want to be clear: I am NOT celebrating tonight.

Yes, we prevented an economic catastrophe that would have put a huge hole in our fragile economic recovery. But the reason we were in this mess in the first place is that a reckless faction in Congress took the government and the economy hostage for no good purpose and to no productive end.

According to the S&P index, the government shutdown had delivered a powerful blow to the U.S. economy. By their estimates, $24 billion has been flushed down the drain for a completely unnecessary political stunt.

$24 billion dollars. How many children could have been back in Head Start classes? How many seniors could have had a hot lunch through Meals on Wheels? How many scientists could have gotten their research funded? How many bridges could have been repaired and trains upgraded?

The Republicans keep saying, "Leave the sequester in place and cut all those budgets." They keep trying to cut funding for the things that would help us build a future. But they are ready to flush away $24 billion on a political stunt.

So I'm relieved, but I'm also pretty angry.

We have serious problems that need to be fixed, and we have hard choices to make about taxes and spending. I hope we never see our country flush money away like this again. Not ever.

It's time for the hostage taking to end. It's time for every one of us to say, "No more."


REICH: President has scored significant victory over extremist Republicans-But fight will continue.

Here, I fear, is where the President is likely to cave.

He’s already put on the table a way to reduce future Social Security payments by altering the way cost-of-living adjustments are made – using the so-called “chained” consumer price index, which assumes that when prices rise people economize by switching to cheaper alternatives. This makes no sense for seniors, who already spend a disproportionate share of their income on prescription drugs, home healthcare, and medical devices – the prices of which have been rising faster than inflation. Besides, Social Security isn’t responsible for our budget deficits. Quite the opposite: For years its surpluses have been used to fund everything else the government does.


The real problem is the rising costs of healthcare, coupled with the aging of the post-war boomers. The best way to deal with the former – short of a single-payer system — is to use Medicare’s bargaining power over providers to move them from “fee-for-services,” in which providers have every incentive to do more tests and procedures, to “payments-for-healthy-outcomes,” where providers would have every incentive to keep people healthy. (The best way to deal with the latter – the aging of the American population – is to allow more young immigrants into America.)

More generally, the President has been too eager to accept the argument that the major economic problem facing the nation is large budget deficits – when, in point of fact, the deficit has been shrinking as a share of the national economy. The only reason it’s expected to increase in future years is, again, rising healthcare costs.

Our real economic problem continues to be a dearth of good jobs along with widening inequality. Cutting the budget deficit may make both worse, by reducing total demand for goods and services and eliminating programs that lower-income Americans depend on.



and, The Teahadists Got Nothing...

For Republicans, it was basically for nothing.

The GOP will actually get less out of the final deal being brokered than the party would have gotten had House conservatives never staged their revolt on Obamacare. In fact, the drama is likely to end with Republicans ceding policy concessions to Democrats.

Let’s review: Had the House passed the “clean” continuing resolution it was offered on September 30, the government would have remained open only until November 15, at the reduced funding levels determined by the “sequestration” cuts imposed by the 2011 debt-limit deal. Republicans still would have had the debt-ceiling deadline Thursday, plus another budget fight on the horizon a month later, as perceived points of leverage. (Democrats insist this leverage is illusory as the White House would refuse to negotiate, but to Republicans, that’s what these deadlines are: valuable bargaining chips.)

Instead, the House is poised to pass a measure that funds the government through January 15 and lifts the debt ceiling until February 7—taking the heat off Congress for months and eliminating three pressure points (the September 30 funding expiration, the October 17 debt-ceiling target, and the hypothetical November 15 funding expiration) in one go. The proposed deal negotiated by Senate leaders also would force the two houses to convene a budget committee, something Democrats have been demanding since the Senate passed a budget in March—and conservative Republicans have repeatedly blocked, for fear that any compromise negotiated between the two houses would mean selling out their principles.


Obama: "NO"

Wow...Obama actually made Reid kill the Susan Collins deal

White House officials rushed Friday to squash an emerging bipartisan deal crafted by Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) because they viewed it as a worse than proposals from Boehner.

It would have locked in next year’s even-deeper government spending levels and suspended the medical device tax, a key funding stream for Obamacare that’s unpopular with both parties.

White House chief of staff Denis McDonough and Deputy Chief of Staff Rob Nabors called Reid, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). The president didn’t want Democrats anywhere near that deal, and the Senate leaders, in turn, warned the rank and file to hold back and avoid committing to the deal. The president reiterated his concerns in a Saturday meeting with Democratic leaders, and they made clear that they couldn’t accept the proposal.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/10/barack-obama-government-shutdown-debt-ceiling-98440.html#ixzz2hyNmj0e1

ROVE: "Republicans Walked Into Obama's Trap"

Karl Rove ‏@KarlRove 30m
In tomorrow's @WSJOpinion: "Republicans Walked Into Obama's Trap"

Republicans Walked Into Obama's Trap
His goal was to discredit the GOP before 2014. The defunders fell for it.

Barack Obama set the trap. Some congressional Republicans walked into it. As a result, the president is stronger, the GOP is weaker, and ObamaCare is marginally more popular. The battles over spending, taxes and debt have not been resolved, only postponed. It's time Republicans remembered that bad tactics produce bad outcomes.


"Mr. President, do you think we'll have to go through this all over again in a few months?" "No!".

"Mr. President, do you think we'll have to go through this all over again in a few months?"



Obama: I Want to Thank Leaders of Both Parties For Getting This Government Shutdown Deal Done

Obama: I Want to Thank Leaders of Both Parties For Getting This Government Shutdown Deal Done
October 16, 2013

President Obama spoke at the White House briefing room tonight, saying he is "willing to work with anybody" on ideas that "get our fiscal house in order for the long term." He thanked "leaders from both parties" for getting a deal on funding the government through January 15 done. On his way out he was asked whether Washington would go through the same motions again in January. "No," he said, to laughter.


President Obama is speaking.

"Democrats and Republicans in the House still have an important vote to take," he says. But when it passes the House, he will sign it "immediately."

"I'll have more to say about this tomorrow," he says, acknowledging upcoming budget negotiations. "We now have an opportunity to focus on a budget that is sensible, that is fair."

He also stresses the need to move on a long-lingering farm bill and comprehensive immigration reform package.


Here's Boehner's press secretary:

Brendan Buck @Brendan_Buck
5:21 PM - 16 Oct 2013

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