As The Hill’s Sam Baker points out, health care providers may be on the hook for two rounds of cuts before the end of the year:
1) The triggers in the debt ceiling proposal would enact “across-the-board reductions that would cut up to 2 percent of Medicare?s total spending” to providers if the so-called super committee does not agree on a proposal to reduce spending. Even if it does agree, the group could target government reimbursements to hospitals and doctors.
2) At the end of the year, “the latest short-term patch to Medicare physician payment rates is set to expire,” meaning Medicare doctors will face another round of cuts.
The House is now voting on the bond vigilate welfare deficit reduction bill. áLive on CSPAN. House Democrats say they are holding their votes back and leting the GOP max out before they cast their votes to create a new Super Congress to cut Social[...]
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Gallup, week of July 25-31
From Gallup this afternoon:
Most of the week's news headlines focused on failed plans and recriminatory accusations, although by Sunday, congressional leaders and the president announced the outline of a negotiated agreement. Twice last week, Obama's three-day rolling approval average reached 40%, the lowest such average of his administration. By the end of the weekend, his three-day average had rebounded slightly to 43%.From WaPo/Pew (the same poll as this word cloud):
A number of reporters and columnists have speculated on how Obama's role in the agreement will affect his support within his liberal base. A New York Times online story over the weekend declared, "Outcry From the Left Precedes Debt Deal," while Times columnist Paul Krugman, in a Monday morning column headlined, "The President Surrenders," accused Obama of "folding" in the face of Republican threats. The website Politico carried a story on Monday morning headlined: "Debt deal complicates liberals' support."
Yet the data show that Obama's support from his liberal base remains as high relative to his overall average as it has throughout his term. Specifically, liberals' approval of Obama last week was 72%, 30 points higher than his overall approval rating of 42%. By comparison, liberals' approval has averaged about 28 points higher than his overall average so far in the Obama administration.
On the other side of the aisle, the fiercest intra-party criticism of Obama has been from liberals, but in the new poll, moderate and conservative Democrats are three times as likely as are liberal Democrats to say their opinion of Obama has deteriorated over the past few weeks. Just 7 percent of liberal Democrats say so; most, 55 percent, say their opinions are unchanged, and 37 percent say they are now more favorable.
In that poll, everyone takes a hit from the public, though the president and Democrats take the smaller hit. Interestingly, indies whack Boehner pretty hard and give tea party R's a bit of a break (a reminder that independents are not moderates).WaPo/Pew 8/1/11We need to see similar numbers from after the deal is sealed. But as of now, the debt deal is not hurting Obama with self-described liberals as much as some of the pundits suggest.
Here's a video feed from MSNBC of the action on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives as we move to a final vote on the debt limit deal:
3:19 PM PT: Voting hasn't begun yet?Nancy Pelosi is speaking now. The final vote should begin in a few minutes. One observation that is sort of obvious, even though Pelosi is voting for the bill: this never would have happened had Democrats won the 2010 midterms. We need her back in the Speaker's office.
3:24 PM PT: There's just a couple more minutes left?Republicans are wrapping up now. And after the vote, the House is going to take the rest of August off, leaving the FAA hanging in the balance.
3:28 PM PT: I am not sure what's going on here but there is some sort of procedural move going on where members are being asked to record their presence by a Call of the House.
3:36 PM PT: Cox Radio reporter Jamie Dupree says:
One member of the House Republican Whip team tells me they are "close" to having enough votes for approvalProbably it's more like they are close to figuring out how many of their members they can release from voting for it now that Democrats are picking up some of the slack for their Satan Sandwich.
As the pro forma vote on the debt deal approaches, here's a word cloud based on a new Washington Post/Pew Research Center poll, where respondents were:
Asked for single-word characterizations of the budget negotiations ...That about sums it up, doesn't it?
$140 million for the Columbia Pike streetcar that would give people a cheap, less-polluting way to get to work and draw people to a sorely under-utilized area? A waste of money! Spend it on something else instead! Anything! Like, uh, how about education? Clearly, if you support the Columbia Pike streetcar, you must hate kids!
$110 million to upgrade just one road interchange for drivers (Route 29 & Gallows Road in Merrifield), while leaving it insufficient for pedestrians and bike commuters? Still waiting to hear from the Washington Post editorial board on how that could be better spent on schools. Should be any day now.
My point is not that Columbia Pike streetcar is more worthy of funds than the Route 29 interchange. My point is that maybe at a time of crazy low interest rates when a lot of people need work, we should be doing every project we can. By the time we need to start paying it back, the economy will have recovered - and if it hasn't, we're screwed anyway.
And if you have to resort to "but what if we spent it on free health care for puppies instead?" to make your argument, maybe you should re-think your case.
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Mohamed El-Arian has this right: "Unemployment will be higher than it would have been otherwise. Growth will be lower than it would be otherwise. And inequality will be worse than it would be otherwise.?The ultimate loser in this whole thing is the[...]
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House District 3
Bobby Wren, Tommy Cadle, and Jimmy Wayne Russell are running to replace outgoing House Speaker Billy McCoy (D-Rienzi). From all I'm hearing, Cadle looks like the winner here.
House District 10
This is the seat Rep. Warner McBride (D-Courtland) is leaving. The Democratic primary is between Jordan Bankhead and Greg Hodges. Bankhead has reportedly been gaining momentum. Sen. Nolan Mettetal and Doug Jones are facing off in the Republican primary. I'm going with Mettetal winning that primary.
House District 19
This one is the race of the night on the House side, in my opinion. The Democratic primary pits incumbent Rep. Mark DuVall (D-Mantachie) against former incumbent Jamie Franks (D-Mooreville) and Brad Underwood. Franks is currently chair of the Mississippi Democratic Party. I'm betting Franks takes his seat back, and does so without a runoff. DuVall's had some questionable votes in his 4 years in the House, and I think that's going to bite him.
House District 39
Rep. Jeff Smith (DIR?-Columbus) and Jack Larmour are vying for the Republican nomination. This is Smith's first run as a Republican, but I don't believe he'll have any trouble. Smith should walk away with this one.
House District 48
Rep. Mary Ann Stevens (D-West) is retiring, and Jason White, Nathaniel Christian, and Thomas Eskridge are running in the Democratic primary to replace her. It looks like White has the momentum in this one. There are no Republicans running for this seat, so the winner of the primary becomes the new Representative.
House District 73
Brad Oberhousen and Gay Polk are squaring off in the Democratic primary in this Hinds County race. Oberhousen appears in the lead here, and should win tomorrow. If he does, he'll face Rep. Jim Ellington (R-Raymond) in the general, assuming that Ellington beats John Canterbury in the GOP primary. I think that's a safe assumption.
Alright, I'm done. Let's see how these all turn out tomorrow.
The House should begin voting on the debt deal around 6:30 PM ET.
The Minority Leader is supporting the deal, but isn't whipping it:
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Monday afternoon that she will "absolutely" vote for the debt-limit compromise but isn't urging other Democrats to take her lead.So, Pelosi isn't whipping her members to support the bill. But, the progressive entities that actually do the work to elect Democrats are saying vote NO.
Pelosi told told ABC's Diane Sawyer that while the deal is probably a "satan sandwich with satan fries on the side" she'll vote for the deal with Tuesday's default deadline looming.
During a long meeting with House Democrats earlier Monday, several lawmakers said Pelosi told them to vote their conscience while reminding them about the what could happen if the United States defaults on its debt obligations.
"This deal will kill our economy and is an attack on middle-class families. It asks nothing of the rich, will reduce middle-class jobs, and lines up Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid for cuts. Today, we're putting in thousands of calls to Congress urging Democrats to keep their promise and oppose this awful bill. The 14th Amendment is unambiguous, and President Obama should invoke it to pay our nation's debt. Then Democrats should focus on jobs -- not cuts -- in order to grow our economy."Justin Ruben, Executive Director of MoveOn.org:
?This is a bad deal for our fragile economic recovery, a bad deal for the middle class and a bad deal for tackling our real long-term budget problems. It forces deep cuts to important programs that protect the middle class, but asks nothing of big corporations and millionaires. And though it does not require cuts to Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid benefits, it opens the door for these down the road via an unaccountable Congressional committee. We surveyed our 5 million members and the vast majority oppose the deal because it unfairly asks seniors and the middle class to bear the burden of the debt deal. Congress should do what it should have done long ago and what it has done dozens of times before ? pass a clean debt ceiling bill.?FireDogLake is doing a whip count, noting:
A deal between President Obama and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell calls for the creation of an elite "Super Congress" to cut Social Security and Medicare benefits behind closed doors. Whatever they decide will then be fast-tracked through both chambers, where it can't be amended by simple, regular lawmakers.You won't find many progressives who will say this is a good deal for Democrats -- unless they're getting paid to say it (or want to keep their access and their invitations to Common Purpose and other "insider" events.)
This is the "Catfood Commission" on steroids.
The "Super Congress" is how Congress intends to insulate themselves from taking unpopular votes to cut Social Security and Medicare benefits -- by investing a small group of elites with extraordinary powers, and then tying their own hands from stopping them.
Monticello, home of Thomas Jefferson
(Paul R. Kutcher IV/CC BY-SA 3.0)
Tim Kaine (D): 46 (46) 
George Allen (R): 43 (44) 
Undecided: 11 (10) 
Tim Kaine (D): 47 (49) 
Jamie Radtke (R): 31 (33) 
Undecided: 22 (18) 
It ain't much, but since February, Tim Kaine has moved from a tied race to a three-point lead. Still, things are far too close for me to bet on a change that small. Still, Tom notes that Kaine's lead has moved the most among independents; if that trend keeps up, hopefully Kaine can lock that advantage in by going hard negative on Allen next year, reminding voters of all the things they disliked about him back in 2006.
One other interesting observation from Tom:
There seems to be a general thought that this race will move in whatever direction the national political winds do over the next 15 months and change so it's interesting that Kaine has gained a point on his lead over Allen even as Barack Obama's advantage on Mitt Romney has declined by 7 points. At least right now those races aren't moving in concert. For now that's good news for Kaine?Obama's not dragging him down even as his popularity flags. But longer term it could be good news for Allen too?if Obama's numbers see a recovery that doesn't necessarily mean Kaine's all the sudden going to have an 8 point lead either.
Also from the same poll, PPP has generic legislative numbers for this November's state lege elections. The GOP leads by a narrow 45-42 spread, but Democrats are tied among independents, a group they got crushed with in 2009.