McConnell Won’t Rule Out Gov’t Shutdown

Senate Republicans seem to be willing to force a shutdown of the federal government as part of negotiating deep cuts to the federal budget, according to comments made Sunday by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). Appearing on NBC’s Meet The Press, McConnell pointedly refused to rule out a government shutdown under direct questioning by moderator David Gregory. McConnell simply repeated that a deadline to continue funding most government operations after March 4, and an impending need to raise the debt ceiling, represent “two opportunities” to address spending. MR. GREGORY: But you won’t take shutdown off the table if it comes to that? SEN. McCONNELL: We have two opportunities to do something important for the country on spending and debt. … Continue reading

Getting Local: Newburyport Slights Non-resident Employees With Paid Parking Plan

For months the city of Newburyport, MA has been debating a paid parking plan for the downtown area, that is now one city council session vote away from being implemented. I’ve watched the news stories in the local paper for sometime as others from the area have, but the recent vote on the issue caused me a great deal of concern. I am a former resident of Newburyport. My father owned a business in Newburyport for over 3 decades, I owned a business in Newburyport in the 80’s. About 20 months ago I moved back to the Newburyport area after living in Los Angeles for 19 years. I now work in a small retail store in downtown Newburyport and it’s been … Continue reading

DNC Promises To Promote Obama Agenda

The head of the Democratic National Committee is promising to help advance the agenda that President Obama laid out this week in his State of the Union address. Democrats will make “crucial investments to support the President’s agenda for our country’s future — from ads on the air to conversations on the ground, we’re going to do everything we can to promote his vision for our country,” DNC Chairman Tim Kaine says in a Friday email to supporters, soliciting funds to pay for the effort. In his nationally televised speech from the chambers of Congress, Obama called for increased investment in such priorities as innovation, infrastructure and education. “The President rose above the day-to-day politics that we know can slow … Continue reading

Of Football Teams, Fraternities, and Other Important Intellectual Concerns

by Walter Brasch The $50 million Burton Family Football Complex at the University of Connecticut may be nameless soon. Robert G. Burton, who had donated about $3 million to help fund the stadium, wants his money back and his family’s name erased from UConn football. He also informed UConn he will cancel his $50,000 a season suite in the stadium. What upset Burton, who had donated about $7 million to UConn, mostly for its football program, was that the selection committee for a new football coach didn’t take his suggestion. Not long after Burton’s tirade, the chairman of the Board of Trustees reached out to “mend fences” to keep money where it belongs—in the football program. While athletics drives many … Continue reading

UPDATE: Senate Leaders’ Agreement Called ‘Significant Step’ Toward Filibuster Reform

The Democratic and Republican leaders of the Senate late Thursday announced a new agreement to reduce obstruction in the chamber, after a more-forceful effort toward filibuster reform was killed. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) took to the floor to outline the shape of their deal, in lieu of a rules reform package which had been advanced by Sens. Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.). The push for reform is aimed at the intense use of the filibuster by Republicans in recent years so as to try to derail priorities of the Democratic majority. “We are making these changes in the name of compromise, and this agreement itself was constructed … Continue reading

Filibuster Reform Falters In Senate

Three Senate Democrats failed to win enough support to push forward with rules changes that would have made it more difficult to obstruct legislation. Sens. Tom Udall of New Mexico, Tom Harkin of Iowa and Jeff Merkley of Oregon, had introduced measures that would have made it more difficult for a minority of the Senate to stand in the way of passage of bills favored by the majority. However, Wednesday night Senate Republicans objected to allowing the Senate to debate and vote on their rules reform. The Senate GOP have used the filibuster nearly constantly over the last two years in an effort to hold up Democratic priorities. “It is far too ironic that last night, Senate Republicans prevented debate … Continue reading

Many Say They Are Ready To Help President Obama ‘Win The Future’

President Obama’s decision to make such priorities as research, infrastructure and education key themes in his State of the Union speech won wide acclaim from diverse sets of advocates following Tuesday night’s address. Obama urged the adoption of policies intended to facilitate enhanced innovation, improved infrastructure, and access and quality of education as key means of creating new American jobs. “We know what it takes to compete for the jobs and industries of our time,” the president says. “We need to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world. We have to make America the best place on Earth to do business. We need to take responsibility for our deficit and reform our government. That’s how our people will … Continue reading

Senator Wants President Obama To Talk Foreclosures in State of The Union

While President Obama is expected to focus largely on jobs and U.S. economic competitiveness in his State of the Union, a Democratic senator wants to hear the president talk about how to more strongly stem the tide of housing foreclosures across the country. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) last week wrote Obama, urging him to do so. The freshman highlighted the well-reported troubles with Obama’s existing program to combat foreclosures, and proposes a six-point plan to keep Americans from losing their homes. Obama will give his annual, nationally televised address from the chambers of Congress on Tuesday night. Merkley notes that more than 300,000 foreclosures have been filed against American families each month for the past 20 months. “It is a … Continue reading