Archive for the ‘Grassley’ Category

Grassley: Stop the ‘socialist’ trend

March 24, 2009

The top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee on Monday said an across-the-board freeze on federal spending is needed to reel in President Obama´s massive budget plan, signaling a more active Republican stance in fighting the president’s agenda.

Sen. Charles E. Grassley, Iowa Republican, also said the president is pursuing a “socialist” form of government that will stifle the free market.

Mr. Grassley told editors and reporters at The Washington Times that a spending freeze is necessary to get the federal deficit under control and to show voters that the government is capable of living within its means in hard times.

“What you get when you have an across-the-board freeze is everybody is seen as contributing something,” Mr. Grassley said.

“Congressmen don’t get an increase in [pay], government pensions don’t go up, you don’t charge senior citizens more for their Medicare premium than you did the year before,” he said, adding that a three-year freeze would produce a more dramatic effect.

As the ranking Republican on the Finance Committee, Mr. Grassley figures to play a central role in the fate of some of the president’s top priorities, including tax reform, health care and energy. Mr. Grassley’s collegial relations with Chairman Max Baucus, Montana Democrat, only increases his clout.

Read the rest:


Obama, His Outrage in Legal, Political Quicksand Over AIG Bonuses?

March 17, 2009

The only real difference between Bernie Madoff and the management of AIG is that when Bernie Madoff got caught, he pleaded guilty. When AIG got caught, it asked the government for $170 billion.

And it got it. Now the American International Group is going to pay $165 million to its executives as a reward for the fine job they did in duping everybody.

By Roger Simon
The Obama administration is officially outraged by this. It is stamping its feet. It is jumping up and down. It is issuing stern statements.

But some are getting ready to pay. Some are getting ready to let the fat cats get fatter.

Larry Summers, director of the president’s National Economic Council, went on ABC’s “This Week With George Stephanopoulos” on Sunday and said the AIG bonuses were “outrageous” but might have to be paid.

“We are a country of law,” he said. “There are contracts. The government cannot just abrogate contracts.”
Baloney. Contracts get abrogated all the time. That’s why there are lawsuits.

It’s not enough for AIG executives to continue to get their huge annual salaries because of a government bailout — they want bonuses, too? Let them sue to get them.

The way the courts work, they should get a ruling within the next century or so.

But while we are waiting, the taxpayers should not stand idle. We should demand the immediate resignation of Edward M. Liddy, the government-appointed chairman of AIG.

Liddy recently wrote a letter to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner saying the bonuses must be paid to the AIG executives because, otherwise, their morale might suffer.

“We cannot attract and retain the best and the brightest talent to lead and staff the AIG businesses — which are now being operated principally on behalf of American taxpayers — if employees believe their compensation is subject to continued and arbitrary adjustment by the U.S. Treasury,” Liddy wrote.

The best and the brightest? Is this guy serious? As of Sunday, AIG stock had gone down 99 percent over the past year because of these geniuses. But we have to worry they might quit and go elsewhere?

Fine. Let them go. Maybe they can get jobs in Zimbabwe, where kleptocracy is official policy. I think some of them would feel more comfortable there.

Liddy is scheduled to appear at a congressional hearing Wednesday. Actually, I would feel better if he were going on “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart.” That guy really knows how to interrogate.

But I hope our elected representatives get to the heart of the matter with Liddy: Why do Wall Street fat cats believe they operate in a separate world, one where ordinary rules don’t apply and democracy doesn’t work?

Monday afternoon, President Barack Obama accused AIG of “recklessness and greed.”

And he said he is going to “pursue every legal avenue to block these bonuses and make the American taxpayers whole.”

The key phrase, of course, is “every legal avenue.” We do not want our president to act illegally. But I hope he is not going to throw up his hands in helpless outrage if AIG lawyers say the bonuses must be paid.

Read the rest:

 Republican Grassley on AIG execs: Quit or suicide

Obama Plans to Charge Wounded Heroes for Treatment
Obama Wants To “Unclog Blocked Lending Arteries” — Here’s The Problem
AIG Bonus Caper Demonstrates Obama Administration Weak Thinking
Stimulus: Way Fewer Jobs Than You Thought
Why Taxpayers Should Pay the AIG Bonuses; Obama is Dead Wrong On This
Stimulus: Way Fewer Jobs Than You Thought

 Obama Tells “Turbo Tax” Geither To Get Back AIG Bonus Money; Dumb and Dumber

Obama: Really Want to “Fix Schools”? Try The China Or Singapore Model
Obama’s War On Banks: Backlash Stirring

Obama using recession to justify largest expansion of federal authority ever; U.S. less safe

From March 13:
Republicans: If You Can’t Agree On Core Values Now, Commit Harakiri

Republican Grassley on AIG execs: Quit or suicide

March 17, 2009

Sen. Charles Grassley is so angry over AIG bonuses that he says the executives should resign or kill themselves.

In a comment aired this afternoon on WMT, an Iowa radio station, Grassley (R-Iowa) said: “The first thing that would make me feel a little bit better towards them if they’d follow the Japanese model and come before the American people and take that deep bow and say I’m sorry, and then either do one of two things — resign, or go commit suicide.”

Read the rest from Politio:

Sen. Grassley. 
A spokesman said he was speaking rhetorically. Photo: AP

Obama Plans to Charge Wounded Heroes for Treatment
Obama Wants To “Unclog Blocked Lending Arteries” — Here’s The Problem
AIG Bonus Caper Demonstrates Obama Administration Weak Thinking
Stimulus: Way Fewer Jobs Than You Thought
Why Taxpayers Should Pay the AIG Bonuses; Obama is Dead Wrong On This
Stimulus: Way Fewer Jobs Than You Thought

 Obama Tells “Turbo Tax” Geither To Get Back AIG Bonus Money; Dumb and Dumber

Obama: Really Want to “Fix Schools”? Try The China Or Singapore Model
Obama’s War On Banks: Backlash Stirring

Vice President Cheney charged Sunday morning on CNN that President Obama is using the recession “to try to justify” what is probably the largest expansion of federal authority “in the history of the Republic.”

Grassley maybe can’t read, has forgotten the law and has forgotten he’s a Republican…
Obama using recession to justify largest expansion of federal authority ever; U.S. less safe

From March 13:
Republicans: If You Can’t Agree On Core Values Now, Commit Harakiri

Stimulus: Calls To Senate 8:1 Against; Political, Economic Toll Looms

February 9, 2009

Barack Obama is in trouble.  His first legislative initiative as president was meant to solve a catastrophe.  But the phone lines at the Senate House Office Buildings are heating up with voters saying “no.”

Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) said on Monday the calls to his office were 8:1 against the stimulus.  Other Senate offices report similar call ratios.

Polls show that 50% or more of the voters are against this stimulus.

The stimulus will probably still pass.  After all, Democrats control the House and the Senate.  But their will be consequences of the stimulus: political and economic.

Barack Obama is bleeding politically.  He’ll need some recovery time.

Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) has been willing to go with the Democrats on the stimulus.  He faces reelection in his state during the next go round; and his Republican base is not overjoyed with this stimulus.

Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine, both Republicans, have also sided with the Democratic Party on the stimulus.  They probably have to help the Democrats (or think they have to)  given the unemployment in their state.

But this stimulus is going to hurt the nation, politically and economically.  And few Demcrats or White House spokesmen have been able to articulate the benefits enough to turn around the negative feelings among voters….

U.S. Taxpayers Risk $9.7 Trillion on Bailouts as Senate Votes

Stimulus: Obama house parties can’t stimulate needed support

Stimulus will lead to ‘disaster,’ Republican warns

Arlen Specter
Senator Specter


Jonathan Martin, Manu Raju 

In the gauzy days of bipartisan good feeling before his Inauguration, there was talk of President Barack Obama linking arms with Republicans to pass a massive stimulus bill, with a big bipartisan Senate majority as proof the parties could come together in a time of national distress. 

So much for that. 

Now Obama and the Democrats are poised to push through an $827 billion package Tuesday with as few as three Republican votes in the Senate, after notching zero on the House side. 

The risks for Obama are considerable. He and the Democrats will have no one else to blame if the package fails to boost the economy. Obama himself has said his first term can be judged on whether it succeeds, whether it creates or saves the 3 million to 4 million jobs he promises. 

And if the economy fails to show marked signs of improvement — a possibility indeed — Republicans will have a megabillion-dollar “I told you so” in their pockets, just in time for the 2010 midterm elections and Obama’s own reelection bid in 2012. 

Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said the fallout from a Democrat-only bill will be “squarely in the president and the Democratic leadership’s lap.” 

If Obama signs a stimulus bill that has been approved on a party-line vote, “which I have no confidence will work, then I think this is very serious blow early on to his presidency,” Cornyn said. 

Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) acknowledged the lack of bipartisan support “weakens the bill” and said voters should try to withhold judgment until a final product emerges from conference. But he warned that the GOP would suffer from withholding support. 

Yet Republicans are gambling themselves — and perhaps with even higher stakes. 

Still seeking a way forward from their Election Day thumping, they risk appearing out of touch as the unemployment rate jumps to 7.6 percent and a popular new president is appearing to seek their support to address the crisis. By turning their backs on him and opposing action at a time when millions of Americans are in need, they may invite a “party of no” bull’s-eye on their backs. 

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Stimulus: Master of The Message, No Drama Obama Losing?

February 5, 2009

Barack Obama wasn’t a senator long enough to become an experienced and seasoned lawmaker.  He is not really a professional legislator.  He is a community organizer.  But he is a wonderful talker: and that has catapulted him, to a great measure, into the White House.

So he turned the task of making the stimulus over to Nancy Pelosi, who ignored the preident’s vow of bipartisanship and hushed or ignored House Republicans.

President Obama knew his oratorical gifts would get us through.

But now maybe not….


By Jeanne Cummings
At this crucial juncture in the push to pass an economic recovery package, President Obama finds himself in the most unlikely of places: He is losing the message war. 

Despite Obama’s sky high personal approval ratings, polls show support has declined for his stimulus bill since Republicans and their conservative talk-radio allies began railing against what they labeled as pork barrel spending within it. 

President Barack Obama speaks about business CEO's compensation ... 
President Barack Obama speaks about business CEO’s compensation in the White House in Washington February 4, 2009.(Larry Downing/Reuters)

The sheer size of it – hovering at about $900 billion — has prompted more protests that are now causing some moderate and conservative Democrats to flinch and, worse, hesitate. 

The anxiety over lost momentum seemed almost palpable this week as the president in television interviews voiced frustration with his White House’s progress and the way his recovery program was being demonized as a Democratic spending frenzy. 

In Obama’s own words in an NBC interview, it’s his job to “get this thing back on track.” 

Already, he’s trying – rolling out Michelle Obama to talk stimulus Wednesday, Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday (at a train station, no less) and sitting down with key senators one-on-one. 

But this is unfamiliar turf for a team that achieved near epic status for its communication skills during the presidential campaign. They’ve rarely ever had to play catch-up. 

With the president’s gifted oratory and a technologically savvy team, the Obama camp was able to seize control of the national conversation as early as April and never fully relinquish it right through his Inaugural Address two weeks ago. 

To be sure, some of Obama’s headaches stem from the normal dysfunction that occurs when a White House is in transition. Phones don’t work, chains of command are fuzzy, and there are formalities that need tending to. 

But the Obama team also made its own mistakes. The president’s troubled cabinet nominees added to the cacophony that at times drowned out the White House economic messages in the past two weeks.
And it seems more apparent each day that the nascent Obama Administration isn’t fully prepared for the task at hand. 

The president’s decision to push through a massive stimulus bill, while perhaps unavoidable, is forcing the much-vaunted Chicago crowd to adapt at lightning speed to its more skillful adversaries on Capitol Hill, while at the same time taking a crash course on harnessing the full power of bully pulpit. If he doesn’t figure it out soon, Obama is likely to find out that his stimulus package looks very different than he had in mind indeed. 

The Jetsons versus the Flinstones 

Obama’s campaign was lauded for its visionary use of modern tools for old-fashioned politics. Through the Internet, it recruited supporters, collected dollars, rallied supporters and organized get-out-the vote operations. 

But when these modern heroes arrived at the White House, it was like the lights all went out.
Their contact with their millions-fold supporters was cut off, literally, as e-mail systems broke down and ‘The List’ of political supporters was blocked at the iron gate. 

To meet government ethics rules, the campaign operation and its grassroots army were forced to de-camp to the Democratic National Committee, robbing the president of one of his most potent political weapons just as the stimulus bill was under consideration in the House. 

But while the White House team struggled to adapt, it was business as usual on Capitol Hill for Republicans. 

They could practically sleep-walk through their attack plan once House Democrats began to fill in Obama’s broad outlines for a stimulus with a few pet projects of their own. 

It required two simple steps: Scream pork, call Rush Limbaugh

They even could have even used a rotary phone. 

The result: Every House Republican saw a free pass and voted against the first version of the bill.
The outcome is not surprising. Obama had roughly 90 people working at his headquarters on Internet outreach and new technology projects, observes Joe Trippi, a Democratic operative who broke new ground on modern campaigning during Howard Dean’s 2004 Democratic primary bid.

Even with closet-sized spaces, the White House can only accommodate about only about 200 or so people for jobs ranging from national security to health care reform to Internet guru.

The Obama team “built this incredible campaign and now they have these ridiculously primitive tools. The communication tools they mastered don’t exist in the White House. It’s like they are in a cave,” said Trippi. 

“Then there are the masters of the Stone Age and they are doing a good job,” he added.

Learning to play well with others

During the campaign, Obama had complete control over his message. Now, he doesn’t and that’s not an easy adjustment for any president.

Obama must suddenly yield turf to both Capitol Hill and outside interest groups who are trying to help. The results in both cases can be messy.

Read the rest:


White House Demonizes Senate Republicans on Terrible Stimulus Package; Why No Senate Dems Embrace This Stimulus?

White House Demonizes Senate Republicans on Terrible Stimulus Package; Why No Senate Dems Embrace This Stimulus?

February 5, 2009

It was clear yesterday that the White House was trying to demonize Senate Republicans on their slow response to the economic stimulus.  The president himself predicted “catastrophe” if the federal economic stimulus is not passed quickly.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs seemed to carefully choose his words to paint Republicans as the the real problem here.

If the stimulus is so great why did the President of the United States have to write his own defense of the stimulus for the Washington Post?
See: President Obama Writes Why You Need the Stimulus

If the stimulus is so great why do 50% of Americans no longer think so?

And all the demonization of Republicans sounds good until you listen to Senate Democrats defend the stimulus bill.  There aren’t any.

Where’s Harry Reid?  Too busy to defend the president’s legislation as handed down by Nancy Pelosi and the House?

Senator Kent Conrad (D-NK) said today that he is making an alliance with Republicans to cut the most egregious provisions out of the stmulus.

Egregious parts of the stimulus, says a Democratic Senator.  While his president predicts castrophe if those same provisions are not passed….

There are Republicans expressing opinions on the stimulus, like McCain saying he’d rather have no stimulus bill than this one and Grassly saying we need to “look before we leap.” 
Grassley and others want more time to review the House version of the stimulus or they want a new bill all together….

President Obama keeps pressing on the gas, hoping things will go faster.

That makes Republicans ask even more, “What all is buried in here?”

Many are saying that few in the House even read through the stimulus — relying instead upon the president explaining the crisis and the spending solution.

“We’re not trying to prevent a package from passing. We’re trying to reform it,” Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said.

Maybe a time out is in order….

Stimulus Debt May Destroy U.S. Growth for 10 Years

February 5, 2009

The Congressional Budget Office says the economic stimulus will, in the short run, help the economy.  But, it says, the huge American debt that will be fueled by the stimulus will “crowd out” future investment in America.  This debt and restraint on investment will lower gross domestic product (GDP) for about 10 years.

The CBO also favors the Senate version of the simulus now under discussion.
“CBO’s basic assumption is that, in the long run, each dollar of additional debt crowds out about a third of a dollar’s worth of private domestic capital,” the CBO said.

The budget office said the bills would help GDP and save or create jobs in the short term, but estimated that under the Senate bill, GDP would be 0.1 percent to 0.3 percent lower by 2019 than if no action is taken.

The CBO analysis was requested by Senator Chuck Grassley a Republican from Iowa.

Grassley was unable to deliver the facts on the Senate floor on Wednesday due to what one staffer called the “carnival atmosphere and overdrive speed” of the Senate during the stimulus debate.

Senator Fighting Obama Stimulus Leaves Chamber in Disgust

Grassley said “we need to look before we leap” on the stimulus.

He said, as is often done according to Senate rules, “I’d like the rest of my remarks read into the record.”  Then he added as he left in disgust, “This is a missing piece of the puzzle and [barely audible] nobody cares.”

In a letter to Senator Chuck Grassley, the CBO said:

In contrast to its positive near-term macroeconomic effects, the Senate legislation would reduce output slightly in the long run, CBO estimates, as would other similar proposals. The principal channel for this effect is that the legislation would result in an increase in government debt.  To the extent that people hold their wealth in the form of government bonds rather than in a form that can be used to finance private investment, the increased government debt would tend to “crowd out” private investment—thus reducing the stock of private capital and the long-term potential output of the economy.

The negative effect of crowding out could be offset somewhat by a positive long-term effect on the economy of some provsions—such as funding for infrastructure spending, education programs, and investment incentives, which might increase economic output in the long run. CBO estimated that such provisions account for roughly one-quarter of the legislation’s budgetary cost. Including the effects of both crowding out of private investment (which would reduce output in the long run) and possibly productive government investment (which could increase output), CBO estimates that by 2019 the Senate legislation would reduce GDP by 0.1 percent to 0.3 percent on net.

Senator Fighting Obama Stimulus Leaves Chamber in Disgust

February 4, 2009

We watched the U.S. Senate “debate” the economic stimulus with interst today.

We’ve been watching the House and Senate off and on since 1972.

But today, a frustrated Republican did something we had never seen before.

Senator Chuck Grassley, the Republican from Iowa, was making his case against the stimulus when he stopped, apparently out of time.

He said, as is often done according to Senate rules, “I’d like the rest of my remarks read into the record.”  Then he added as he left in disgust, “This is a missing piece of the puzzle and [barely audible] nobody cares.”

Chuck Grassley

The rare show of emotion and disillusionment was striking to us after all these years, and probably indicative of the Democratic control of the White House, the House and the Senate — and how the Republicans are feeling these days.

Grassley had made the case that more time is needed to consider the stimulus.  “We need to look before we leap,” he said.

Grassly was demoralized, it seemed to us.

The presidening officer of the Senate said, “Without objection, I’d like those last remarks removed from the record….”

 Flaws of Stimulus More Obvious Each Day

 Mayors, Governors of Both Parties Favor Stimulus (Surprised?)

 Stimulus: Some Loony Spending Requests in Obama Plan