Archive for the ‘compromise’ Category

Stimulus: Obama May Need To Make a Deal

February 6, 2009

In the Clint Eastwood movie “Kelly’s Heroes,” the good guys are trying to break into a bank held by the bad guys.  Rather than fight it out, the character played by Don Rickles says, “Make a deal.”

He is asked, “What kind of a deal?”

He answers: “A deal deal.”

Barack Obama needs to make a deal on the stimulus.

The House version of the stimulus is terrible and cannot be enacted into law — beacuase it would be very bad law not because the Republicans are in the way.

Plus a group of Senate moderates have been crafting an alternative stimulus package that just might right some of the wrongs of the House bill.

The President said, “I won.”  But his “catastrophe,” the economy and the lack of a stimulus, remains.

Now the president needs to make a deal.  A deal deal.

Related:
Moderates seek bipartisan OK of stimulus package
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President Catastrophe: Listen to FDR, JFK
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‘Catastrophe’ Obama Is Angry; And We Might Be Too

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Moderates seek bipartisan OK of stimulus package

February 6, 2009

Senate moderates seeking to pare back Barack Obama’s economic plan are rekindling their efforts in hopes of building a bipartisan vote that eluded the president in the House.

A group of nearly 20 moderates from both parties — more Democrats than Republicans — huddled off and on all day Thursday in hopes of cutting as much as $100 billion from Obama’s plan, which ballooned to $937 billion on the Senate floor, with further add-ons possible during a long day of votes Friday.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., displayed impatience with the moderates, led by Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Ben Nelson, D-Neb., at a midday news conference, but he lent them encouragement as he sent senators home later Thursday.

“It’s gotten more encouraging and that’s because the leadership has indicated that they have some appreciation for the work that this bipartisan group is doing,” said Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La. “It’s still got life. It’s still breathing.”

A roster of $88 billion worth of cuts was circulating, almost half of which would come from education grants to states, with an additional $13 billion in aid to local school districts for special education and the No Child Left Behind law on the chopping block as well. Some $870 million to fight the flu was among the first items to go, but other items divided the group.

At the same time, the group also was hoping to add perhaps $25 billion in additional infrastructure projects.

By ANDREW TAYLOR, Associated Press Writer

“We’ve added more tax cuts and tax relief. We’ve trimmed out some of the fat and now we have to add a little muscle,” Landrieu said, referring to additional infrastructure spending.

If the group fails to reach an accord — or if it won’t fly with Democratic loyalists — the alternative for Reid is to try to ram the measure through with just a few GOP supporters, such as Olympia Snowe of Maine. He expressed confidence he has the 60 votes needed to press it through if need be.

The massive measure is a key early test for Obama, who has made it the centerpiece of his fledgling presidency. Obama embraced the moderates’ efforts, saying he would “love to see additional improvements” in the bill.

Speaking to a House Democratic retreat in Williamsburg, Va., Obama pushed Democrats to avoid political gamesmanship and get a stimulus bill to his desk by next week.

Voters who ousted Republicans from power “didn’t vote for the status quo,” he said. “They sent us here to bring change. We owe it to them to deliver.”

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090206/
ap_on_go_co/congress_stimulus

Obama open to compromise on $825B stimulus bill

January 27, 2009

On the eve of a key vote, President Barack Obama privately promised Republicans he stands ready to accept changes in the $825 billion economic stimulus legislation, invoked Ronald Reagan to rebut conservative critics and urged lawmakers to “put politics aside” in the interest of creating jobs.

The American people expect action,” Obama said Tuesday as he shuttled between closed-door meetings with House and Senate Republicans on a trip to the Capitol that blended substance with political symbolism.

By LIZ SIDOTI and DAVID ESPO, Associated Press

Republicans who attended the sessions said the president did not agree to any specific changes but did pledge to have his aides consider some that GOP lawmakers raised dealing with additional tax relief for businesses.

Prodded to budge on another point, Obama said that despite opposition, he will insist on giving relief to wage-earners who pay Social Security taxes but do not earn enough to owe income tax. His spokesman said the president reminded his critics that former President Reagan — conservative hero to many contemporary Republicans — supported the same concept while in the White House.

In a measure of the complex political dynamic in Congress, House Republican leaders urged their rank and file to oppose the stimulus measure hours before Obama arrived.

One Republican later quoted the president as saying any changes would have to come after the House gives what is expected to be largely party-line approval Wednesday to the Democratic-backed bill. Debate began late in the day on the measure, which includes about $550 billion in spending and roughly $275 billion in tax cuts.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/obama_economy

Gaza Cease-Fire: Bridging A Chasm; Is Hamas Ready To Deal?

January 6, 2009

How can men like Britain’s Tony Blair and France’s President Sarkozy possibly bridge the divide between Hamas and Israel and broker a cease fire?

Sarkozy was told by Prime Minister Olmert in Israel that “Sometimes the need to find a compromise in the UN comes at Israel’s expense.”

In Syria, Bashar Assad, did not respond to Sarkozy’s call to intercede with Hamas, instead slamming the Israeli assault on the coastal strip as a “war crime” and an “aggression” that Israel must halt.

In Iran, President Ahmadinejad doesn’t even believe the Holocaust really happened, has spoken about wiping Israel away, is working on a nuclear program and he doesn’t even recognize the Israel as a state, calling it “the Zionist regime.”

Tony Blair seems to understand that Israel has to get something from Hamas in order to even seriously consider a cease fire.
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“If there is strong action on that front, so that Israel feels it has achieved something — namely the end of the smuggling of weapons and finance to Hamas — then I think it is possible to resolve this reasonably quickly,” Blair told CNN.

“If that doesn’t happen, if we’re not in that position, then obviously it’s going to go on.”

Late Tuesday word came that Hamas just might be ready to make a deal.

“Hamas is ready to agree to peace if the Israeli army will stop military operations and withdraw from Gaza, Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad told CNN Tuesday,” said a CNN report.
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“They are ready (to make a deal),” Al-Assad told CNN’s Cal Perry in an exclusive interview. “They were ready, they are ready. Today, the factors have changed so the requirement will change at the same time.

Related from CNN:
http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/meast
/01/06/israel.gaza.diplomacy/index.html

Gaza: Sarkozy Seeks Help In Syria; Told Israel is “War Criminal”

January 6, 2009

French President Nicolas Sarkozy urged Syria on Tuesday to exert pressure on its ally Hamas to help end the fighting in the Gaza Strip between the militant Palestinian group and Israeli forces.

But his Syrian counterpart, Bashar Assad, did not respond to Sarkozy’s call to intercede with Hamas, instead slamming the Israeli assault on the coastal strip as a “war crime” and an “aggression” that Israel must halt.

By ALBERT AJI, Assocaited Press Writer

Sarkozy’s visit to the Syrian capital is part of a whirlwind Mideast tour amid European diplomatic efforts….

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090106/ap_on_re_mi_ea
/ml_mideast_diplomacy;_ylt=AuU11TL1q2x5Q
P3mswVx8ANvaA8F

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad (R) and his French counterpart ... 
Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad (R) and his French counterpart Nicolas Sarkozy hold a news conference after a meeting in Damascus January 6, 2009. Sarkozy asked Syria on Tuesday to help convince Hamas to cooperate in international efforts to end the Israeli assault in the Gaza Strip.REUTERS/Khaled al-Hariri (SYRIA)

Related:
Israel Sees Existential Fight: Enemies, Uncertainty All Around
.
 Gaza: France’s Sarkozy Not Helping

Understanding Israel: Necessary Step in Solving Middle East Violence?

Understanding Israel: Necessary Step in Solving Middle East Violence?

January 6, 2009

The best participants in the international scene understand the individual sensitivities and nuances in the minds of others.

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates is one of those international players that “gets it.”

He recently told Charlie Rose on PBS a story about understaning Russia and Russians.

Prime Minister Nikita Khrushchev, Gates said, was embarrassed in Geneva in 1955 that President Dwight D. Eisenhower‘s plane was bigger than his.

“I mean, this is pretty deep-seated stuff, and so trying to avoid touching on one of Russia’s insecurities is almost impossible,” Gates concluded.

So it is with Israel.

Maybe the Holocaust left a lasting impression upon all Israelis that life, even in a seemingly secure world, can change in a moment.

And maybe the fact that Israel is surrounded by a hostile Arab community  plays heavily upon the Israeli psyche.

In Iran, President Ahmadinejad doesn’t even believe the Holocaust really happened, has spoken about wiping Israel away, is working on a nuclear program and he doesn’t even recognize the Israel as a state, calling it “the Zionist regime.”

So, when outsiders hustle into Israel to offer cease-fires, peace and security, there might be a tad of doubt.

So it was today when French President Sarkozy tried to convince Israel’s prime Minister Olmert that a cease-fire demanded by the United States would ge a really good thing.

Sarkozoy thought a U.S. Cease fire might be peachy.

Olmert: not.

Today Olmert reminded Sarkozy that “Sometimes the need to find a compromise in the UN comes at Israel’s expense.”

What Olmert was thinking we do not know.  But you can figure he was thinking: “We here in Israel are surrounded by people who want us all dead, and you Europeans and even the U.N has never been much of a help.”

By John E. Carey
Wakefield Chapel, Virginia

Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Olmert attends a weekly cabinet ... 
Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has some understandable doubt that the EU, UN and others will do the right thing for Israel…..REUTERS/Gali Tibbon/Pool (JERUSALEM)

Related:
Israel Sees Existential Fight: Enemies, Uncertainty All Around
.
 Gaza: France’s Sarkozy Not Helping

Gates on Russians:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content
/article/2009/01/04/AR2009010401503.html