Tensions heightened between Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) and the state’s 14 Senate Democrats yesterday, with both sides digging in and blaming the other for the impasse. Walker claimed the Democrats were divided about whether or not to return from Illinois, while Democrats accused Walker of grossly overstating the progress of behind the scenes talks.
House Republican leadership is divided over Rep. Pete King’s (R-NY) anti-Muslim hearings. While Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) insists King is working “tirelessly to ensure that our homeland is secure” Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) opted for a more “hands-off approach” and declined to offer any similar endorsement of the controversial hearings.
After months of criticizing Democrats for enacting Medicare savings during health care reform, Republicans focused on deficit reduction are weighing changes to the program themselves, including spending caps and higher premiums. “There is a battle plan for attacking Medicare savings, and it was written by Republicans,” said Neera Tanden, chief operating officer of the Center for American Progress.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R), who promised to run the state like a corporation when he was elected on a Tea Party platform last fall, is already running into trouble with fellow Republicans in the state senate who say Scott is pushing them out of the process. “The governor doesn’t understand there is a State Constitution and that we have three branches of government,” said one state senator.
“Two political parties that led demonstrations in Baghdad over the past two weeks said Monday that security forces controlled by Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki” ordered them to close their political offices. “[Maliki] is breaking the Constitution; he is breaking the law,” said Mithal al-Alusi, who leads the Iraqi Nation Party.
Anti-government forces in Libya said yesterday that leader Muammar Qaddafi offered to negotiate his departure, proposing to “hand power to the head of parliament and leave Libya with a guaranteed sum of money.” However, the rebels have rejected that offer. Meanwhile, Britain and France are leading a charge at the UN for a resolution authorizing a no-fly zone over the war torn country.
Howard Kohr, executive director of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, complained at a fund-raiser on Sunday that the U.S. is ignoring Israel amid the Middle East unrest. “New people are coming in with an agenda that is purely domestic in nature,” Mr. Kohr said referring to new members of Congress, adding, “If you ask any of the president’s senior advisers, it’s about the economy.”
Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) announced he would not seek a third term yesterday to protect his family from “exceptionally ugly” campaign attacks. By retiring, Ensign — who is under investigation by the Senate Ethics Committee for wrongdoing tied to his extramarital affair — allows the GOP avoid a “pretty nasty primary” in 2012.
And finally: Did former Sen. Alan Simpson, the co-chairman of President Obama’s deficit commission, attempt to reference rappers Eminem and Snoop Dogg, or is he just a fan of fecal-themed hip hop music? Yesterday on Fox News, Simpson made a reference to people “with the cap on backwards” who listen to “the enema man and Snoopy Snoopy Poop Dogg.” He was attempting to make a point about how much grandparents love their grandkids, somehow.