Senate Kills Obama Jobs Bill

Posted on October 13, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

by Caren Z. Turner

The President’s jobs bill died in the Senate Tuesday night in a 50-49 vote, just ten votes shy of the 60 needed to break a Republican filibuster. The President blasted Senate Republicans for not supporting the legislation.

“[E]ven though this bill contains the kind of proposals Republicans have supported in the past, their party obstructed the Senate from moving forward on this jobs bill,” Obama said.

Key to Republican opposition to the jobs bill was a provision inserted by Senate Democrats which would impose a 5.6 percent surtax on millionaires in order to pay for the measure. Democrats accuse Republicans of blocking the bill in an effort to deny the President a victory and to protect millionaires at the expense of the rest of the nation.

“Folks should ask their senators, why would you consider voting against putting teachers and police officers back to work?” President Obama said in a speech Tuesday in Pittsburgh. “Ask them what’s wrong with having folks who have made millions or billions of dollars to pay a little more.”

Tuesday’s Senate vote essentially ended the bill’s legislative life, though it is likely that separate pieces of legislation containing specific components of the bill will be drafted and considered, an approach supported by Democrats. The President indicated his administration will work with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) to get votes on those separate measures “as soon as possible.”

“Tonight’s vote is by no means the end of this fight,” the President also stated. “Independent economists have said that the American Jobs Act would grow the economy and lead to nearly two million jobs, which is why the majority of the American people support these bipartisan, common-sense proposals.”

A CNN.com analysis of the politics of the jobs bill issue is worth noting:

“It’s pathetic but not unexpected. This is really what we’ve come to expect from this divided Congress,” said John Avlon, an independent and CNN political contributor. “What’s especially frustrating to folks who view this with a sense of historic perspective is that we’ve had divided governments that worked fairly well before. But I think the unfortunate hyper-partisanship is clearly affecting our ability to work together.”

Avlon said the Democrats’ adage that the Republican Party is the “party of no” is not just a slogan anymore; it’s become reality.

“Republicans accusing (Democrats) of playing politics ought to look in the mirror if they are simply voting against things because they come from the president,” Avlon said. “I think you’re playing with a little bit of political dynamite if you think obstructionism will be good politics in the face of this economy.”

Garry Jacobson, a political science professor at the University of California, San Diego, said that what Republicans are doing is “pretty transparent.”

“They have no incentive to actually decrease unemployment before the next election. They certainly look like they are trying to obstruct job formation,” he said. “If the economy is still around 9% a year from now, it’s good for them. The incentives for obstruction are strong. The incentives for doing anything that actually might reduce unemployment are pretty weak.”

Turner GPA is one of the premier, highly respected government and public affairs firms in the nation. Turner’s state-of-the-art advocacy has earned them respect and acclaim from the media, clients, policymakers and even their competitors! Turner advocates on behalf of cutting edge businesses, municipalities, and non-profits that wish to ensure their perspectives and needs are taken into account in Washington, in state capitols and in City Hall, as well as in the media. The firm creates and implements intensely focused and targeted advocacy campaigns designed to meet and exceed its client’s expectations and goals. For more information on Turner GPA, visit http://www.turnergpa.com or call 202-466-2511.

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Washington, China, Wall Street: No Fix And All Blame Over The U.S. Economy

Posted on October 7, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , |

by Caren Z. Turner

President Obama’s jobs bill. The deficit Super Committee. Congressional posturing over a Balanced Budget Amendment. An anti-China currency manipulation Senate bill. Mass populist protests nationwide against banks and big business.

All of these things point to a number of related systemic failures: the economy, the business and financial sector, and of course government.

And there’s plenty of blame to go around: Democrats and Republicans blame one another. Consumers and lawmakers blame banks and big business. Some are even blaming China.
Unfortunately, blame does not a solution make. And so far it seems no viable solutions are being either presented or supported.

Jobs Bill?

Is the President’s jobs bill a solution? Not at the moment. It so far doesn’t have enough Democratic support to pass the Congress, and Senate Democrats are rewriting portions of the bill by adding a 5.6 percent tax on income above $1 million. Furthermore, Senate Republicans attempted to politically capitalize on the lack of Democratic support for the bill by calling
for an immediate vote on the jobs bill Wednesday
. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) blocked the vote. At present, it only appears to be useful to lawmakers as a political trampoline.

Super Committee?

What about the deficit Super Committee? The fact is still don’t know what it’s going to come up with per its mandate to create a plan to cut more than $1.1 trillion in spending over the next decade. The committee, which has been conducting many of its meetings in secret, must agree to a final proposal by November 23 in order to get a bill through both chambers of Congress so that it can be signed by President Obama by December 23. If the committee fails to agree to a proposal, or if Congress fails to pass whatever proposal the committee does come up with, it would trigger automatic cuts in defense and non-defense spending. And while President Obama is urging the Super Committee to cut more than $1.5 trillion in spending, Senate Republicans have already said they expect the committee will fail its mandate.

Balanced Budget Amendment?

What about a Balanced Budget Amendment? There is an almost even divide of support versus opposition for it, and largely by party line. Unfortunately, House Republicans who support a BBA as a constitutional mechanism to control spending are can’t seem to figure out which political strategy will work best for them in terms of what version of the BBA amendment they want to adopt so as to give them the foremost advantage for the 2012 campaign and elections.

S.1619?

What about S.1619, the Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Reform Act of 2011 that the Senate considered yesterday and which is designed to pressure China to stop undervaluing its currency?

“It’s probably not going anywhere. … The China currency bill is highly unlikely to pass,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), referring to the likelihood that the bill, even though it has broad bipartisan support in the Senate, will not make it through the House, where Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) opposes it.

“It’s a pretty dangerous thing to be moving legislation through the U.S. Congress forcing someone to deal with the value of a currency,” Boehner said on Tuesday.

Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) in a floor speech yesterday criticized Democrats for pushing the measure in light of the fact that President Obama has been pressuring lawmakers to drop the bill.

“I worry we are diverting the Senate’s time from the big game which is the joint-committee and its work on reducing the deficit,” said Kirk, noting that the Senate shouldn’t even be considering a bill that has little likelihood of passing the House or being signed into law by the President. “I have heard the president of the United States has called senators asking this bill not come up.”

Many believe the measure, which would impose tariffs on Chinese imports as a means of penalizing China for manipulating its currency so as to artificially achieve a trade advantage, would start a trade war with China at a time when our economy is already struggling. Others say the measure is needed because Chinese currency manipulation has cost American jobs.

Blame Wall Street?

What about the “Occupy Wall Street” protest movement? Since it started on September 17, it has expanded exponentially around the country, gaining swift and immense popularity with demonstrators protesting the country’s economic conditions and the role of banks and big business in facilitating the financial woes of millions of Americans. As of yesterday, several unions – including the AFL-CIO – as well as lawmakers have come to the support of the movement, hundreds of whose participants were arrested this week in New York.

No Fix and All Blame = Zero Solutions

The government gridlock, the ravenous political posturing, and the impulse to assign blame to foreign entities and domestic business are all symptomatic of the extreme frustration and anger circulating within the country which is inhibiting the clear and rational vision that is critically needed in order to cure the nation’s economic pain.

We do not yet see an end to it. And so the pain will only continue to increase.

Turner GPA is one of the premier, highly respected government and public affairs firms in the nation. Turner’s state-of-the-art advocacy has earned them respect and acclaim from the media, clients, policymakers and even their competitors! Turner advocates on behalf of cutting edge businesses, municipalities, and non-profits that wish to ensure their perspectives and needs are taken into account in Washington, in state capitols and in City Hall, as well as in the media. The firm creates and implements intensely focused and targeted advocacy campaigns designed to meet and exceed its client’s expectations and goals. For more information on Turner GPA, visit www.turnergpa.com or call 202-466-2511.

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