Female Senators and a Point of Pride

Posted on March 6, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

By Caren Z. Turner

CZT Bio Photo medium resizeIt’s a longstanding  point of pride between the female Senators of both parties that they believe they could create and pass a federal budget without a problem were it not for their feuding brethren. We’ve actually heard two female senators boast that they could get the budget written and passed in one week!

Well the women of the Senate may be given that opportunity. According to high-ranking Senate sources, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), newly minted Chair of the Senate Budget Committee, is working closely with Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) to get a Senate budget. If they accomplish this goal, it will be first Senate budget in over three years!

The new Senate budget package is rumored to be split 50-50 between spending cuts and new taxes. If Murray’s Committee adopts the proposal it could be voted upon as early as the week of March 18th. Squaring off with Paul Ryan and his budget will be a different story.

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At the RNC: A Chair Steals the Show

Posted on September 5, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , |

By Scott Orr

If there is one enduring image from the Republican’s recent convention in Tampa, it is surely that empty chair Clint Eastwood spoke to for 12 minutes on the gathering’s closing night.

It doesn’t matter if you loved his presentation, or hated it, you definitely remember it. And for newly anointed Republican standard-bearer Mitt Romney and his backers, that’s probably not what they intended. And it could be why the Romney campaign has yet to see much of a convention bounce.

Eastwood’s performance overshadowed a solid, if bland, acceptance speech by Romney which built on one of his campaign’s favorite themes, that the Obama administration has been a disappointment. He went over his five point plan to create 12 million new jobs, called for renewed American unity and reached out to women voters.

But coming as it did after Eastwood’s chair speech and reflective and philosophical remarks from Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Romney’s speech was hardly the highlight of the night. Quick polling by Gallup gave Romney low marks.

Rubio did his best in trying to focus the crowd away from the Obama bashing and back to the virtues of Romney. He did a great job, talking about his family and about Romney’s  and about how the American dream endures even in troubled economic times.

In one of the few prime time speeches that focused more on lifting Romney up than on running Obama down, Rubio sounded a rare note of optimism. Romney, he said, believes “life in America can be better than it has ever been.”

If the goal of convention speeches is to tell the electorate why their man should be elected, then Romney’s wife, Ann, was its star. Her heart-felt remarks on the convention’s opening day talked about the loving family man who worked hard to meet every challenge along the road to business success.

“At every turn in his life, this man I met at a high school dance has helped lift up others,” she said.

But vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan’s acceptance speech was more the norm, focusing more on Obama than Romney. He described the Obama administration as “a dull, adventureless journey from one entitlement to the next, a government-planned life, a country where everything is free but us.”

Then there was New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, whose keynote address was really more about himself than about Romney or Obama. It did contain a nice bit about leadership and the memorable line: “Real leaders don’t follow polls. Real leaders change polls.”

It started with the threat of being washed out by Tropical Storm Isaac, ended with the memory of a man talking to an empty chair. Overall, we’re not sure the convention did much to help Romney, but polls show the race is still too close to call.

Now, what can Obama and the Democrats do?

Turner GPA is a leading D.C.-based national lobbying and government affairs firm dedicated to delivering cutting edge policy advocacy for the manufacturing, defense, aerospace, health and energy industries. Members of our professional policy team can be reached at (202) 466-2511. We are also on the Web at www.turnergpa.com.

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Mixed Policies and Mixed Messages

Posted on May 2, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

By Caren Z. Turner

As we approach 90 degrees in the nation’s Capitol, many in DC are simply confused about what is going on and why. Maybe it’s the heat..!

Just some examples…Confused about the Obama Administration’s policy vis-a-vis Afghanistan? We certainly were. In the early morning we swore we heard commentary regarding a continued commitment to Afghanistan – until the year 2024. By early afternoon, we kept hearing about troop withdrawal. The Associated Press seems to have pegged it perfectly. “In President Barack Obama’s twin narratives, the United States is both leaving Afghanistan and staying there.” They further noted that, ” Even after the U.S. combat mission is concluded in 2014, it is likely that thousands of U.S. troops will remain for some years to conduct counter terrorism strikes and otherwise train and advise Afghan forces, and help the Afghans collect and exploit intelligence on insurgents and other military targets.” “Forward” I suppose?

The US Postal Service, is eager to activate a $22 billion cost-cutting plan by May 15. However, a letter sent earlier this week by Sens. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Thomas Carper (D-Del.) and Scott Brown (R-Mass.) emphasizes that the Postal Service also should wait to close facilities because the Senate bill passed last week might actually bar USPS from closing some of its sites.

On the positive front, while the government is teasing out its manufacturing policy, manufacturing expanded last month at the strongest pace since June, according to the Institute for Supply Management. Conferees were named for both the Senate and House Transportation bills. This legislation is likely to create more jobs than most other pieces of legislation passed this year. Let’s hope for quick resolution and passage.

Paul Ryan’s alternative to sequestration was unveiled this week. Without an alternative to sequestration, most non DOD government agencies and programs are likely to see a 9 percent cut. Most budget experts on Capitol Hill are working on their budgets based on either House or Senate plans. It is still unknown whether either House or Senate budgets will be passed. In recent years the most the Congress has done is pass the continuing resolution (CR), a measure that simply continues the budget of the previous year!

C’est la vie!

Please call with any questions you may have!
(202)466-2511

Turner GPA is a leading D.C.-based national lobbying and government affairs firm dedicated to delivering cutting edge policy advocacy for the manufacturing, defense, aerospace, health and energy industries. Members of our professional policy team can be reached at (202) 466-2511. We are also on the Web at www.turnergpa.com.

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The Ryan Budget’s Political Impact

Posted on April 11, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , |

By Scott Orr

The GOP-controlled House passed a sweeping overhaul of federal spending priorities championed by Wisconsin Republican Rep. Paul Ryan, the chairman of the House Budget Committee.

This bill, of course, is going nowhere and normally it would be dismissed as a meaningless piece of political posturing. But this is an election year and the so-called Ryan budget has presented a new platform for argument and a juicy target for the Obama campaign in its strategy to paint the Republicans as unfriendly to America’s middle class.

It’s very difficult to see how Ryan believed he was helping his party and its presumptive presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, by issuing a budget document that is far outside the mainstream of current budgetary and political thought.

As expected, the president attacked the budget, and by extension Romney, who has been endorsed by and campaigned with Ryan. Obama appeared to relish the chance to highlight the Ryan plan and his criticism was sharp:

“It’s a Trojan Horse. Disguised as deficit reduction plan, it’s really an attempt to impose a radical vision on our country. It’s nothing but thinly-veiled Social Darwinism,” the president said in a speech at the Associated Press luncheon in Washington.

He said the budget would slice funding for education, research and other federal programs needed to build the economy while preserving advantages for big business and the wealthy.

The next day, Romney replied saying Obama’s remarks contained “so many things that I found to be distortions and inaccuracies it’s hard to give a full list.”

Both Romney and Ryan said the president’s dire predictions that the GOP plan would cut Head Start benefits for 200,000 kids or end 4,500 federal anti-crime grants, is based on an incorrect assumption that the cuts would be distributed evenly across the board.

The House approved Ryan’s $3.5 trillion fiscal 2013 budget by a strictly partisan vote of 228-191. The plan would overhaul Medicare and cut food stamps, Pell grants and other programs for the poor, while reducing taxes on the rich.

It is true that the Ryan plan does not make specific cuts to federal programs and priorities like education and law enforcement which could escape the axe. But this is also one of Obama’s criticisms: The plan calls for broad spending cuts, but lack specifics on exactly how those savings would be realized.

Whether or not the Ryan plan is the answer to America’s deep budget problems, it is certainly a new platform for election year debate and a nice target for attack for the Obama campaign.

Turner GPA is a leading D.C.-based national lobbying and government affairs firm dedicated to delivering cutting edge policy advocacy for the manufacturing, defense, aerospace, health and energy industries. Members of our professional policy team can be reached at (202) 466-2511. We are also on the Web at www.turnergpa.com.

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