WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

Power Breakfast: A Post-vote, Pre-recess Debriefing

Play associated audio

Like most every member of Congress, Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) has left Washington. He's returned to his largely democratic district in Vermont, to begin the process of explaining to the folks back home, the 'developments' of the last few days and weeks.

"The good news here is the government is continuing and we have a government through September," says Welch. "So that clears the decks."

But the brinkmanship was a harbinger of things to come -- like the debt limit debate.

"You know, the debt limit is fundamentally about a moral obligation to pay our bills," says Welch. "And there are many here who want to leverage it as a way of extracting their political point of view. And if we play chicken with the debt limit -- a tough political vote but a necessary thing to do -- then we're playing Russian roulette with the economy. It's very dangerous what lies ahead."

The debt limit is one challenge; the 2012 budget is another. And by Welch's own account, Democrats haven't exactly been winning the public relations game.

"I think one of the problems we've had is that of our defense has been defense of programs, and that's kind of abstract to most people, and they have skepticism that government programs make much difference."

When it comes to compromise, he says both parties could do a whole lot better.

"Compromise isn't about compromising principles, it's about doing the obvious, and that's taking a look at the entire federal structure -- all the programs, all the entitlements, the tax system -- and understanding that each one of these can be a tool that can be used effectively to get to a sustainable budget. We can do it."

So what's everybody waiting for? Welch can't speak for Republicans. But for his own party, he says, "Democrats have to be willing to work with Republicans on looking at some of the programs that have been longtime stalwarts of the Democratic Party."

NPR

Reflecting On Football And Addiction As 'Friday Night Lights' Turns 25

Twenty-five years ago, Buzz Bissinger wrote about the big-time stakes of small-town high-school football in Friday Night Lights. Now he talks about the impact the book had on the players and himself.
NPR

Confronting A Shortage Of Eggs, Bakers Get Creative With Replacements

Eggs are becoming more expensive and scarce recently because so many chickens have died from avian flu. So bakers, in particular, are looking for cheaper ingredients that can work just as well.
NPR

President Obama Unveils New Power Plant Rules In 'Clean Power Plan'

Key elements of the Clean Power Plan include a requirement that would cut the power industry's carbon pollution by 32 percent below 2005 levels in the next 15 years.
NPR

Group Offers To Help Revive HitchBOT That Was Vandalized In Philadelphia

A kid-sized robot that's built around a PVC bucket and sports a friendly face, the hitchBOT couldn't make it out of Philadelphia in one piece.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.