Eric Canter withdraws from talks on the debt-ceiling negotiation
The biggest news this week in the negotiations over the debt ceiling and spending reductions is House Majority Leader Eric Canter withdrawing from the talks with Vice President Joe Biden and others.
"I think the timing of it was surprising, and I think the tone of it was surprising, but I think the bottom line was not surprising, which was that sooner or later Vice President Biden and at least six members of Congress were not going to get all of these final details done," says Hawkings. "They were never going to be able to hand over a wrapped-up-in-a-bow budget deal. They were always expecting to have to hand it off in the end to Speaker Boehner and the President, and that’s what’s essentially happened. Even Canter is essentially just trying to describe this is changing the dynamic of the situation. So it sounded more dramatic yesterday, than I think people are saying it is today."
The republicans know that many of their members don't want to raise taxes or have become involved in any type of tax increase, Hawkings says. So they were trying to appease people, and this is a natural part of negotiation.
"This is what we call the break-up to make-up time. Just like high school, sometimes you've just got to walk away so you can make up in the end."
The next move will not involve democrats taking taxes off the table, says Hawkings.
"I don’t see still how one could fairly describe this as a bi-partisan deal. The very essence of a bi-partisan compromise would be that each side gets something that it really wants and gives up something that it really really wants, and that would have to mean that the republicans would have to give up their wall of resistance to any kind of tax increase. I think sooner or later this is going to have to happen. I think sooner or later this is going to happen. I think that the act that this is happening now, fully five weeks from the deadline is a good sign."
House makes decisions regarding U.S. involvement in Libya
Two votes regarding the U.S. involvement in Libya is expected today in the House.
What are they, and what could the consequences of these votes be for the president and for our engagement in Libya?
"One would be a straightforward authorization of the Libyan mission. It's essentially the same language as John McCain and John Kerry are promoting in the Senate. And that one is that it's going to be defeated soundly. The House will vote on language to cut off finding for any kind of hostility in Libya. The momentum is building for a yes vote on that, sometime in mid-afternoon. The White House has been voting against it. Sec. of State Hilary Clinton came to the House yesterday to meet with the democrats. The democrats are split on this. There's a strong anti-war sentiment among democrats. There’s a strong isolationist sentiment among republicans. And so the likelihood is that the House will vote this afternoon to restrict money, to limit anything that would described as hostilities, to allow money for spying, intelligence gathering, helping NATO refuel its planes, but not for the actual bombing mission that got the president involved in the first place. This is an indication as well that the House is angry that the president didn’t ask for this at the outset."
D.C. House appropriations bill makes it’s way out of the committee
The D.C. House appropriations bill made its way out of committee this week. There are a couple of noteworthy aspects to the bill.
"One is that it would cut federal payment to the District. The payment that the Congress makes to Washington in place of the property taxes it does not collect on all those federal buildings by 9 percent, which sounds like a lot, but is in line with most of the domestic spending cuts that the republicans are trying to push through. What’s more notable is that the bill is silent on some of the policy riders that conservative republicans have attached to D.C. spending bills in the past. The bill says nothing about same-sex marriage. It says nothing about gun control. It would restrict federal money for the District’s needle exchange program, and its medical marijuana program, but it would allow local money to be spent. The big one is the continued ban on federal money or local money spent on abortion. This is a deal breaker for the republicans; they will insist on this all the way through, and it looks like very little for the democrats can do to stop it. Even Bill Clinton signed bills like this in the past. So the issue now is whether conservative republicans – as the bill moves to the House floor next month – will try to amend the bill to back some of those policy riders that I just said are not in the bill."