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Posts Tagged ‘Congressional Democrats’

USAT/Gallup: Obama’s Disapproval hits 50% as 53% Say Dems Abused Power in Passing Obamacare

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

President Barack Obama may end up regretting his pursuit of comprehensive health care reform as his disapproval contiues to rise along with the public's disapproval of the now-passed Obamacare

As noted by Centristnet back over the weekend, President Barack Obama continues to sink in the eyes of the American people in the wake of the historic passage of Obamacare, with a brand new USA Today/Gallup released today showing Obama’s overall job approval underwater as only 47% approve while an all-time high of 50% of Americans disapprove of the job Obama is doing as President:

Obama’s approval rating was 47%-50% — the first time his disapproval rating has hit 50%.

Such elevated levels of disapproval for President Obama remind some of the net-negative approval ratings of his predecessor, George W. Bush, that consumed the Bush Presidency as public concern over the Iraqi war mounted. Indeed, Obamacare may end up being Barack Obama’s Iraq should the public’s views on Obamacare not reverse themselves in the near future. Before long, many national congressional Democrats and state-level Democrats may begin to resent the OBama Administration for saddling them with such a massive, unpopular policy in the lead-up to the November 2010 elections.

For Obama, it is the public’s concern with his massive comprehensive health care plan known as Obamacare that is driving up his disapproval and causing the number of his supporters to shrink. While USA Today and Gallup, along with the remainder of the establishment media, White House Spokesman Robert Gibbs and most other Democrats did push a very shaky and perhaps misleading one-day poll last week showing Obamacare improbably at 49% approval/41% disapproval, one week later this fresh, multi-day poll shows Obamacare as unpopular as ever at 50% disapproval. Several of the criticisms of the prior one-day Gallup poll are, ironically, reprinted today by USA Today in its release of the new Gallup numbers:

The poll of 1,033 adults, taken by land line and cellphone Friday through Sunday, has a margin of error of +/–4 percentage points.

Half call passage of the bill “a bad thing” and 47% “a good thing.” That differs from a one-day USA TODAY poll taken March 22 — a day after the House approved the legislation — in which a 49%-40% plurality called the bill “a good thing.”

“Any one-day poll in the immediate aftermath of a major event is likely to be subject not only to sampling error but also to very short-term effects,” says political scientist Charles Franklin of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. At the time, “the news cycle was dominated by the positive side of the story, and only a little bit by the Republicans’ rebuttal to that.”

The undeniable problem for Obama and the Democrat is that a two-thirds majority of the American public simply does not believe their talking points on health care reform, making any increase in popularity unlikely and further declines probable:

Nearly two-thirds of Americans say the health care overhaul signed into law last week costs too much and expands the government’s role in health care too far, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds, underscoring an uphill selling job ahead for President Obama and congressional Democrats.

Those surveyed are inclined to fear that the massive legislation will increase their costs and hurt the quality of health care their families receive, although they are more positive about its impact on the nation’s health care system overall.

Finally, the coordinated campaign of Democrats and the establishment media to smear opponents of Obamacare as racist, terrorist extremists by highlighting post-Obamacare incidents of alleged violence, threats and slurs has apparently fizzled as well as 53% call Democratic tactics in ramming through Obamacare an “abuse of power” while most (49%) blame such abusive Democratic tactics as the cause of any alleged violence or threats:

There was a strong reaction against the tactics Democratic leaders used to pass the bill. A 53% majority call Democratic methods “an abuse of power;” 40% say they are appropriate.

And when asked about incidents of vandalism and threats that followed the bill’s passage, Americans are more inclined to blame Democratic political tactics than critics’ harsh rhetoric. Forty-nine percent say Democratic tactics are “a major reason” for the incidents, while 46% blame criticism by conservative commentators and 43% the criticism of Republican leaders.

As the details of the still largely-unknown Obamacare package continue to dribble out, such as the fact that the ban on insurer denials of coverage to children with preexisting conditions will not take immediately as claimed by Obama but instead 2014 and the rolling announcements of first quarter losses taken by America’s blue chip companies because of Obamacare (as epitomized by AT&T’s one billion dollar loss), it is very possible that the popularity of Obamacare will decline even further, as “continued opposition will fuel calls for repeal and dog Democrats in November’s congressional elections. The bill was enacted without a single Republican vote.”

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54% of Americans Say Repeal Obamacare as Key Dems Admit “Redistribution of Wealth” as Motive

Monday, March 29th, 2010

President Obama certainly scored a victory by obtaining the passage of Obamacare, but will the American public support the new massive law as key Democrats admit Obamacare is intended to redistribute wealth?

As the dust settles after the passage of the historic comprehensive health care reform package known as Obamacare, the American public appears to favor its immediate repeal as 54% support such a repeal while 42% oppose repeal:

One week after the House of Representatives passed the health care plan proposed by President Obama and congressional Democrats, 54% of the nation’s likely voters still favor repealing the new law. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that 42% oppose repeal.

Those figures are virtually unchanged from last week. They include 44% who Strongly Favor repeal and 34% who Strongly Oppose it.

Repeal is favored by 84% of Republicans and 59% of unaffiliated voters. Among white Democrats, 25% favor repeal, but only one percent (1%) of black Democrats share that view.

Americans also simply do not believe the Obama health care talking points, strongly repudiating the main claims made by Obama about the benefits of Obamacare by a wide margin:

Only 17% of all voters believe the plan will achieve one of its primary goals and reduce the cost of health care. Most (55%) believe it will have the opposite affect and increase the cost of care.

Forty-nine percent (49%) believe the new law will reduce the quality of care. Sixty percent (60%) believe it will increase the federal budget deficit. Those numbers are consistent with expectations before the bill was passed.

Scott Rasmussen, president of Rasmussen Reports, notes that “the overriding tone of the data is that passage of the legislation has not changed anything. Those who opposed the bill before it passed now want to repeal it. Those who supported the legislation oppose repealing it.”

As noted by Scott Rasmussen above, little has changed regarding public opinion Obamacare since its passage, repudiating the media’s “conventional wisdom” that the Democrats would see a surge in public support after its passage. The ABC/Washington Post poll confirms Rasmussen’s findings that few Americans believe Obama’s health care talking points and that majority opposition continues that is “virtually identical to the pre-vote split” regarding Obamacare:

More people see the changes as making things worse, rather than better, for the country’s health-care system, for the quality of their care and, among the insured, for their coverage. Majorities in the new poll also see the changes as resulting in higher costs for themselves and for the country.

Most respondents said reform will require everyone to make changes, whether they want to or not; only about a third said they believe the Democrats’ contention that people who have coverage will be able to keep it without alterations. And nearly two-thirds see the changes as increasing the federal budget deficit, with few thinking the deficit will shrink as a result. The Congressional Budget Office said the measure will reduce the deficit.

About half of all poll respondents said the plan creates “too much government involvement” in the health-care system, a concern that is especially pronounced among Republicans.

Senior citizens, who typically make up about one in five midterm voters, represent a particularly valuable but tough audience on this issue. More than six in 10 of those 65 or older see a weaker Medicare system as a result of the changes to the health-care system. Overall, seniors tilt heavily against the changes, with 58 percent opposed and strong opponents outnumbering strong supporters by a 2-to-1 ratio.

Considering these numbers, President Obama has a steep uphill climb to convince Americans that this broad claims that Obamacare will be a “historic” deficit reduction plan, that Americans can keep their doctor and plan if they like it, and that Obamacare will reduce costs and increase the quality of American health care. Key Democrats are not making the President’s job easier by explicitly stating that the true intent of Obamacare is to redistribute wealth in America, something that went unmentioned by Democrats prior to the passage of Obamacare.

Americans strongly oppose, by a 84%-14% margin, government policies that attempt to bring about wealth redistribution in the American economy

Indeed, such wealth redistribution policies are strongly rejected by Americans, with 84% rejecting that approach according to Gallup:

When given a choice about how government should address the numerous economic difficulties facing today’s consumer, Americans overwhelmingly — by 84% to 13% — prefer that the government focus on improving overall economic conditions and the jobs situation in the United States as opposed to taking steps to distribute wealth more evenly among Americans.

First, Democratic Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) announced that Obamacare is intended to redistribute wealth:

It seems Senator Max Baucus let slip the real purpose of health care reform efforts – the redistribution of wealth from the rich to the poor. Baucus said of the health care bill, “This legislation will have the effect of addressing that mal-distribution of income in America.” According to the influential Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, “The last couple three years, the mal-distribution of income in American is gone up way too much, the wealthy are getting way, way too wealthy and the middle income class is left behind.”

Former DNC Chairman Howard Dean then chipped in on Thursday March 25, 2010 by admitting that “this is a form of redistribution” and Obamacare is intended to cause wealth redistribution in the American economy because the economy is “like a machine. You always got to tune it right.” Of course, as the establishment media is well aware such explicit Democratic admissions that Obamacare is intended to tinker with the economy to bring about wealth redistribution would be damaging to Obamacare’s popularity, so the claims of Dean and Baucus have gone virtually unreported in the media. However, Americans continue to oppose the Obamacare package, as evidenced by today’s poll showing 54% favor its repeal.

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Reversal: Democrats Abandon “Slaughter Solution” Under Pressure from GOP

Saturday, March 20th, 2010

House Democrats just now announced they are abandoning the "Slaughter Solution" under pressure from the GOP and will indeed hold an up or down vote on the Senate bill

In an amazing reversal that happened just moments ago, Congressional Democrats now appear to be reversing their plan to use the “Slaughter Solution” to “deem” the Senate bill “passed” without an up or down vote.   Republicans had been pressuring congressional Democratic leaders for the past few weeks to do exactly that, and the Washington Post now confirms “deem and pass” is dead:

House leaders have decided to take a separate vote on the Senate health-care bill, rejecting an earlier, much-criticized strategy that would have permitted them to “deem” the unpopular measure passed without an explicit vote.

Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) said Saturday that the House would take three votes Sunday: first, on a resolution that will set the terms of debate; second, on a package of amendments to the Senate bill that have been demanded by House members; and third, on the Senate bill itself.

The abandonment of the “Slaughter Solution” by Democrats, under pressure from GOP leaders, is a welcome development in the health care reform debate which likely heads off a potential constitutional crisis if such a strategy was used. Now, all eyes will focus on the up or down vote on the Senate bill itself tomorrow.

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Democratic House Members Waste Thousands Monthly Each on “Green” Vehicles

Monday, March 15th, 2010

In the latest example of porkbarrel spending in the 111th congress, Dem. House Members are spending over a thousand dollars a month, each, on fancy new "green" vehicles

In a story sure to shake up the political scene in Washington on the eve of the all-important House Obamacare vote, Politico reports this morning on the lavish porkbarrel spending of federal taxpayer money engaged in by Congressional Democrats for monthly payments on fancy “green” vehicles:

The economy is still limping along, but some members of Congress are nevertheless riding in style: At least 10 House members are spending more than $1,000 a month in taxpayer money to lease cars.

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver appears to be the biggest spender.

In the last quarter of 2009, the Missouri Democrat doled out $2,900 a month to lease a WiFi-equipped, handicap-accessible mobile office that runs on used cooking oil.

“Rather than paying for an additional office, the congressman has a mobile office, with all the capabilities to do casework across the district,” Cleaver spokesman Danny Rotert wrote in an e-mail. “We can go where our constituents are and accommodate those in wheelchairs with the mobile office’s lift.”

But at least nine other members are paying more than $1,000 a month for more basic rides.

Some lawmakers blame their high lease costs on a policy, enacted in a 2007 energy bill, requiring that the vehicles they choose be fuel efficient. Others say their two-year terms in office prevent them from taking advantage of lower-cost, longer-term leases.

A spokesman for House Intelligence Committee Chairman Silvestre Reyes (D-Texas), who  is paying $1,628 to lease a GMC Yukon, cited those reasons — and others.

In all, 10 House congresspeople spend more than a thousand dollars a month on their personal vehicles, with nine Democrats in that group and one Republican. Politico notes the reactions of several of the nine Democrats implicated in this wasteful use of taxpayer money, with one House Dem pointing to the fact that the vehicle was built by a union as justifying the use of federal taxpayer money:

A spokeswoman for Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (D-Mich.), who spends $1,230 per month on a 2009 Chevrolet Tahoe, said Kilpatrick does it for her district.

“The vehicle is manufactured by a company headquartered in the 13th Congressional District and was made by the hardworking men and women of the United Auto Workers,” spokeswoman Tracy Walker wrote in an e-mail. “The vehicle also meets the tougher environmental standards mandated by Congress.”

Pedro Pierluisi, the Democrat who represents Puerto Rico, spends $1,400 each month on his hybrid GMC Yukon, but a spokeswoman said that figure includes insurance, repair and maintenance costs.

Rep. Harry Teague (D-N.M.) — one of the richest members of Congress, with a net worth of more than $36 million — spends $1,279 in taxpayer money on his vehicle, a 2009 Chevy Malibu that helps him traverse his expansive southern New Mexico district. His cost includes additional mileage to facilitate travel in the sixth-largest congressional district in the country, his office said.

Such excuses from Democratic Congresspeople like Teague, “one of the richest members of Congress”, regarding the clear misuse of federal taxpayer money are unlikely to mollify the average American taxpayer’s outrage at this wasteful spending of federal taxpayer money. As Americans struggle to find work and make ends meet, having a Congressperson with a net worth of more than $36 million charge taxpayers not only for a fancy “green” car but also for “additional mileage to facilitate travel” may seem outrageous to a middle of the road, centrist American citizen but such practices will likely continue in the foreseeable future.

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Change: Obama Reverses March 18 Deadline, Delays Asia Trip for Obamacare

Friday, March 12th, 2010

President Barack Obama has now delayed his trip to Asia and backed off his March 18 deadline for House action on Obamacare

The AP has just reported that President Barack Obama is delaying his trip to Asia to focus on passing Obamacare, despite strong claims by the Obama Administration that a House of Representatives vote must occur by March 18.   Now, the AP reports that Obama will not leave until March 21, making the March 18 deadline inoperative. The latest reversal of an Obamacare deadline set by Obama or one of his top officials is another in a pattern of false deadlines set by the Administration starting last summer. In a prescient article, CNN points out yesterday that the now-inoperative deadline is one of many set by the Obama Administration:

Washington (CNN) — President Obama has set them — and they’ve repeatedly been missed.

But with Easter recess coming, Obama’s latest deadline to pass health care reform legislation could be his last one.

Over the summer, as the health care reform battle was brewing in Congress and at town hall meetings across the country, the president called on both the House and Senate to pass legislation by the end of August in order for a comprehensive bill to see its way to his desk by the end of the year.

That didn’t happen.

Congressional Democrats and the Obama Administration are now struggling to produce 216 votes in the House of Representatives for Obamacare. The latest procedural trick proposed by Democrats is “Amending a Ghost” by having the House create a “rule” that “assumes” the Senate bill has been passed by the House already, and then have the House members vote on changes to the Senate bill, not the Senate bill itself. Such procedural trickery is “unprecedented” in American history and the next few days will determine whether Democrats will push forward with the “Amending the Ghost” strategy or instead simply have an up or down vote on the Senate bill in the House.

UPDATE: NPR adds some details, including a tweet by Robert Gibbs, White House spokesman:

A “alert” from the Associated Press:

“Obama delaying Asia trip from March 18 to March 21 to work on health care.”

The president’s trip will take him to Indonesia and Australia. We’ll update this news as the story develops.

Update at 9:10 a.m. ET. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs just “tweeted” that:

“The President will delay leaving for Indonesia and Australia – will now leave Sunday – the First Lady and the girls will not be on the trip.”

Sunday must mean March 21.

This news is not exactly a surprise. As The New York Times’ The Caucus blog wrote yesterday, “with President Obama’s health care bill hanging in the balance, the White House is facing intensifying questions about whether Mr. Obama should take his planned trip to Indonesia and Australia next week.”

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Democrats Complete Backroom Deal on Obamacare Legislative Language; Endgame Begins

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

Democratic Congressional Leaders and the Obama Administration cut a final, closed door deal last night on the legislative language of Obamacare

House and Senate Congressional Democrats, and representatives of the Obama Administration, met late into the night on Wednesday behind closed doors in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office and apparently have come up with yet another, and final,  Democratic version of Obamacare, to be read to the House Democratic Caucus today, reports the AP about a hour ago:

WASHINGTON – A final agreement nearly in hand, President Barack Obama and Democratic leaders are about to embark on one last sales job that will determine the outcome of the president’s signature health care overhaul.

It will come down to a phenomenal effort by congressional leaders and the White House to win over skittish lawmakers after a year of incendiary debate, even as Obama keeps up campaign-style appearances designed to fire up public support.

A closed-door meeting in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office Wednesday evening moved congressional leaders and administration officials close to agreement on such issues as additional subsidies to help lower-income families purchase health insurance and more aid for states under the Medicaid program for low-income Americans.

Democrats still need to see a final cost estimate from the Congressional Budget Office — and want to ensure it stays around $950 billion over 10 years — but they made plans to begin to read the bill to rank-and-file Democrats at a caucus meeting Thursday.

“We’re going to get started,” Pelosi, D-Calif., said after her meeting with White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and other key officials. Some unanswered questions remain, Pelosi said, “but we’re hoping that we’ll get those answered over the course of the reading. It’s not much.”

It should be noted, as it was not by the AP, that this final dickering and deal making between Democrats done behind closed doors last night was  without any transparency, punctuating a process of over a year of such backroom, closed door negotiations between Democrats regarding Obamacare. The AP apparently sees this backroom dealing and efforts to twist arms of reluctant House Democrats as “a phenomenal effort”, essentially playing the role of Obama Administration cheerleader instead of objective news organization.

Regardless, it appears that in the next week or so the House of Representatives will hold a vote on Obamacare, and between now and then the House Democrats who have refused to agree will likely be submitted to extreme pressure, in unison, from Speaker Pelosi, progressive interest groups, the establishment media and the Obama Administration. Retired Democratic Rep. Eric Massa provided a preview of sorts by describing the strongarming efforts of Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel over a prior vote, with Massa relating that a naked Emanuel charged Massa in the showers of the Congressional gym and screamed about Massa’s voting preferences while jabbing Massa in the chest with his finger.

While a repetition of Rahm’s nude finger jam is unlikely, as the days count down to the House vote, deals with individual House Democrats will be attempted, with promises of favors on other legislation or of increased campaign support or Administration jobs and threats of retribution for voting against Obamacare sure to intensify in the lead up to the House vote. As for President Obama himself, he plans on continuing the campaign speeches in various parts of the county to demand the passage of Obamacare now, as he exclaimed to the Missouri crowd yesterday, “[t]he time for talk is over. It’s time to vote. It’s time to vote. Tired of talking about it.”  The Obama Administration apparently disapproved of the inclusion of Obama’s claim that he is “tired of talking about it” in the AP’s article, as it was almost immediately removed from the AP feed after this morning’s publication.

Considering that after Obama shouted these words in Missouri, Democrats continued to feverishly engage in closed door “talk” over the actual legislative language of Obamacare, only reaching a deal late last night, yesterday’s presidential demand for the “debate” or “talk” regarding health care reform to be “over” is somewhat jarring, especially considering the President made similar comments last week and at various times since July 2009. Apparently closed-door, backroom negotiations between Democrats, such as the final private deal-making last night, is acceptable “talk” for President Obama regarding health care reform, but “talk” consisting of actual substantive negotiations with the GOP or any public, transparent negotiations over the language of the bill between Democrats is verboten.  Sadly, the text agreed to last night amongst Democrats will be withheld from the public for the next few days as sweetheart provisions are inserted to buy the needed House Democratic votes.

After the AP cheer leads by praising the Democratic effort as “phenomenal“, AP continues to further frame Obama’s health care efforts as a valiant “rescue mission” and finally lays out the shape of the Obamacare endgame to unfold in the days to come:

The current plan is for the House to approve the Senate-passed bill from late last year, despite serious objections to numerous provisions. Both houses then would pass a second bill immediately, making changes in the first measure before both could take effect. The second bill would be debated under rules that bar a filibuster, meaning it could clear by majority vote in the Senate without Democrats needing the 60-vote supermajority now beyond their reach.

Republicans have vowed to do everything they can to thwart the plan, and for the Democrats, some policy questions remain unsettled.

Obama already has moved to eliminate a couple of special deals in the Senate bill that turned off voters when they became public, including extra Medicaid funding for Nebraska — derided by critics as the “Cornhusker kickback.” Late Wednesday the White House said the president was pushing to strip out a number of deals that remain, possibly including a provision sought by Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., providing Medicare coverage for residents of Libby, Mont., who suffer from asbestos-related illnesses because of a now-closed mining operation.

Considering that Obama Administration officials were with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid every step of the way when the odious, unethical deals were made to buy the votes of Democratic Senators Ben Nelson (D-NE), Senator Max Baucus (D-MT), Bernie Sanders (D-VT), Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and others for the prior Christmas Eve vote on Obamacare, AP is certainly taking a lot of artistic license to now claim, as they do above, that Obama “has moved to eliminate a couple of special deals in the Senate bill that turned off voters when they became public”. The AP’s praise of the Obama Administration for removing some of the backroom deals that the White House and Congressional Democrats created in the first place, and removing them only after such unethical deals became public knowledge, again demonstrates the lapdog status of the establishment media towards President Obama and highlights the nearly impossible task facing opponents of Obamacare in the days to come as the entire establishment media and DC establishment move in tandem to push Obamacare over the finish line.

UPDATE: Ed at Hotair notes that several Congressional Democrats from Missouri are declining to participate in President Obama’s health care reform campaign rally there later today. The Washington Times reports:

The Show Me State temporarily became the No-Show State on Wednesday as some prominent Missouri Democrats decided they’d rather be somewhere else when President Obama came to push his massive health care overhaul plan.

Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, the all-but-certain Democratic nominee for the Senate seat being vacated by Republican Sen. Christopher S. “Kit” Bond, was “already locked in” to meetings in Washington, D.C., on Wall Street financial reforms, said her spokesman, Linden Zakula, who downplayed her absence for Mr. Obama’s visit to St. Charles, just outside St. Louis. …

Rep. Ike Skelton, one of 39 House Democrats who voted against the party’s health care overhaul bill in December, also skipped the presidential stop in his home state. Mr. Skelton, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, was taking part in a House floor debate on the future of the war in Afghanistan.

In addition, Rep. Russ Carnahan, a Democrat from St. Louis and Mrs. Carnahan’s brother, skipped the event, even though it was in his home district.

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February 2010: Largest Monthly Budget Deficit in American History

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

President Barack Obama's government has run up the largest budget deficit in American history in February of 2010

As shown in a little-noticed release from the Treasury Department today, the Obama Administration has run up the largest budget deficit in American history in February of 2010, a whopping total of $220.9 Billion in just one month.   February 2010′s unprecedented total is more than most year-long budget deficits in American history,  including 2007′s year-long total of $161 Billion. AP reports in this historic monthly deficit:
 

WASHINGTON (AP) — The government ran up the largest monthly deficit in history in February, keeping the flood of red ink on track to top last year’s record for the full year.

The Treasury Department said Wednesday that the February deficit totaled $220.9 billion, 14 percent higher than the previous record set in February of last year.

The deficit through the first five months of this budget year totals $651.6 billion, 10.5 percent higher than a year ago.

The Obama administration is projecting that the deficit for the 2010 budget year will hit an all-time high of $1.56 trillion, surpassing last year’s $1.4 trillion total. The administration is forecasting that the deficit will remain above $1 trillion in 2011, giving the country thrree straight years of $1 trillion-plus deficits.

The government’s monthly budget report showed the record $220.9 billion deficit for February reflected outlays of $328.4 billion and revenues of $107.5 billion. The February receipts marked the first time that revenues are up compared with the same month a year ago since April 2008. Revenues had fallen for 21 straight months as the recession cut into both individual and corporate income tax payments.

As President Obama and Congressional Democrats continue with their primary focus on passing Obamacare, considering the attendant increased government spending included therein, February 2010 may not have the record for largest monthly deficit in American history for very long.

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Breaking: White House: Pass Obamacare Now or Its Dead; Dems Scramble Behind Closed Doors to Write Final Bill

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

President Obama and Congressional Democrats are scrambling to draft yet another version of Obamacare to assist House passage of Obamacare by the White House deadline of March 18, 2010

Fox News is reporting, building on prior AP reporting, that the White House has today increased pressure on Democrats in Congress, especially the House Democrats, putting out word that Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the House Democrats must either pass Obamacare through the House of Representatives now, before the Easter recess begins on March 18, 2010, or the entire effort at comprehensive health care reform will die.

Over the past few days, the White House has indicated it wants a vote in the House by March 18, and Congressional Democratic leaders like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have resisted agreeing to any deadline. However, with the new, increased pressure today, Congressional Democratic sources say that they are “on the same page” as the White House:

A House Democratic leadership source tells Fox there is something approaching convergence on the White House’s March 18 deadline for a vote on the Senate health care bill.

“Everyone is now on same page,” the leadership source said about the March 18 deadline. “We understand the White House believes that would be optimal timing. But they understand we are not wedding ourselves to any deadlines.”

With today’s developments, it now appears that the year-long health care debate finally has a date certain where either Obamacare will pass or it will not, and that deadline appears to March 18, 2010. The next eight days may decide the historical trajectory of the United States, as strict federal control over the entire health care delivery system, 16% of the US Economy, will surely substantially alter the direction of the American economy and political system for decades to come.

Ironically, after over a year of debate over health care reform, and lots of talk regarding cooperation between President Obama/Democratic Congressional Leadership and the GOP on writing the final version of the bill at the health care summit 10 days ago, Democrats continue to scramble behind closed doors to write a final version to the liking of Democrats in Congress. Of course, no Republicans are involved in any way with these last minute drafting efforts by Obama and the Congressional Democratic leadership, despite the clear preference of the American people for such joint drafting to occur. Fox News’s Major Garrett describes the frantic backroom drafting occurring now:

In reality, the White House isn’t budging and the House Democratic leadership is trying. But it can’t vote on the Senate bill until it has a fully drafted and CBO (Congressional Budget Office)-scored bill to “fix” the Senate bill’s imperfections.

But the so-called “fix” bill isn’t ready and there is no expectation CBO will deliver preliminary cost estimates Wednesday. That pushes the schedule back because House Democratic leaders cannot begin the final whip process (counting “yes” and “no” votes) until it has a full “fix” bill with a concrete CBO score on costs, revenues and deficit implications.

In other words, there’s a lot of work left to be done and not much time to finish it. What may well be happening is House Democrats and the White House are agreeing to disagree — on the timing, not the objective.

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Obama 2007: Vote for Me over Hillary Because I Won’t Use Reconciliation on Health Care

Monday, March 8th, 2010

In 2007, Barack Obama argued that primary voters should support him because he would not use reconciliation on health care reform, but Hillary Clinton is.

A little-known interview in 2007 by Barack Obama supplies some fresh evidence of President Barack Obama’s shifting views on the use of reconciliation to pass comprehensive health care reform. Now, in 2010, the Obama Administration and Congressional Democrats have settled upon a plan to pass Obamacare via the use of reconciliation in the Senate after a majority vote in the House. Back in 2007, candidate Obama actually used the issue of the use of reconciliation on health care reform as an example of what Hillary Clinton would do but Obama would not, concluding that folks should vote for Obama for this reason:

Obama was talking about the differences between himself and his then-opponent in the Democratic primary, Hillary Clinton.

I think it is legitimate at this point for me to explain very clearly to the American people why I think I will be a better president than Hillary Clinton, and to draw contrasts,” Obama said.

“But that’s very different from this sort of slash-and-burn politics that I think we’ve become accustomed to. Look, part of the reason I’m running is not just to be president, it’s to get things done. And what I believe that means is we’ve got to break out of what I call, sort of, the 50-plus-one pattern of presidential politics. Which is, you have nasty primaries where everybody’s disheartened. Then you divide the country 45 percent on one side, 45 percent on the other, 10 percent in the middle — all of them apparently live in Florida and Ohio — and battle it out. And maybe you eke out a victory of 50-plus-one, but you can’t govern. I mean, you get Air Force One, there are a lot of nice perks to being president, but you can’t deliver on health care. We’re not going to pass universal health care with a 50-plus-one strategy. We’re not going to have a serious bold energy policy of the sort I proposed yesterday unless you build a working majority. And part of the task of building that working majority is to get people to believe in our government, that it can work, that it’s based on common sense, that it’s not just sort of scoring political points.

The interviewer then asked, “So is your answer to ‘Why I will be a better president than Hillary Clinton,’ is your answer that she’ll be a 50-plus-one president and you won’t?”

“Yes,” Obama said.

Even left-leaning Polifact, who collected the above Obama quotes in the wake of Glenn Beck’s partial airing of them last week, states that Obama has committed a complete flip flop on the use of reconciliation:

Obama may argue that he has tried to include Republicans, but that they have simply been unwilling to play ball. He also has noted that the first iteration of the health care bill passed the Senate with a supermajority. But the fact is, the health care bill is not getting any Republican support, and Obama is pressing forward with a plan to push through a health care plan without them, and without a 60-vote majority.

And we think the last quote, from 2005, is even more on point. Yes, Obama was speaking about the “nuclear option” as it related to judicial nominees, and not a reconciliation bill. But the principles are largely the same, especially as Obama noted that having simple “majoritarian” power in the Senate is “just not what the Founders intended.” And we think that’s enough to warrant a Full Flop.

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Voter Approval of Obama’s Presidency Reaches All-Time Low of 43% Post Health Care Summit

Saturday, February 27th, 2010

Democratic President Barack Obama, pictured here in his 20's, faces a majority of voter disapproval of his Presidency (55%) and an all-time low in overall job approval of 43% in the aftermath of Thursday's health care summit

With two days of polling completed after Thursday’s health care summit, President Barack Obama’s overall job approval fell to the lowest level of his Presidency amongst likely voters today, just 43% approval, with only 21% strongly approving of the President’s job performance. Strong disapproval of the President, conversely, has risen to a near all-time high of 43%, meaning that the President’s strong and soft supporters combined are now equal in number to his strong detractors amongst likely American voters. Overall, 55% of likely voters are either strong or soft opponents of the President as of today. The intense focus on the comprehensive health care reform package being pushed by Obama and Congressional Democrats appears to be taking a toll on the President’s support, similar to the prior low in support reached around the time of the Senate’s passage of Obamacare right before Christmas 2009:

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Saturday shows that 22% of the nation’s voters Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as President. Forty-three percent (43%) Strongly Disapprove giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -21. That matches the lowest Approval Index rating yet recorded for President Obama.

The only other time the Approval Index was this low came in late December as the U.S. Senate prepared to approve its version of health care reform (see trends). Most voters continue to oppose the proposed health care plan.

The Presidential Approval Index is calculated by subtracting the number who Strongly Disapprove from the number who Strongly Approve. It is updated daily at 9:30 a.m. Eastern (sign up for free daily e-mail update). Updates are also available on Twitter and Facebook.

Overall, 43% of voters say they at least somewhat approve of the President’s performance. That is the lowest level of total approval yet measured for this President. Fifty-five percent (55%) disapprove. The President earns approval from 76% of Democrats while 86% of Republicans disapprove. Among those not affiliated with either major party, 38% approve and 61% disapprove. The President earns approval from 37% of men and 49% of women.

Data for these updates is collected via nightly telephone interviews and reported on a three-day rolling average basis. As a result, just two-thirds of the interviews for today’s update were collected following the President’s health-care summit. Tomorrow morning (Sunday) will be the first update based entirely upon interviews conducted after the summit.

Today’s all-time low of 43% in likely voter approval of Obama’s Presidency can perhaps be explained in part by the Obama/Democrat strategy to push ahead strongly with their Democrats-only comprehensive health care proposal in the face of universal GOP opposition. About 60% of American voters disapprove of that tactic as only 34% agree with the President that the comprehensive health care bill should move to final passage without any GOP support. The President also faces a twenty point net deficit in approval of his specific handling of the health care issue (Fox News poll:37%/56%; NYT/CBS poll: 35%/55%), and those polls were taken before the disappointing health care summit. CNN also found that a nearly three quarters (73%) of Americans want the President and Congress to either start from scratch on health care reform (48%) or stop work altogether (25%). Interestingly, CNN’s initial release on of these numbers omitted this critical finding, and CNN noted this finding only three days after the release of their numbers in the context of a preview of the already-taped Sunday show interview of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi:

Washington (CNN) – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is dismissing Republican claims that recent polls support their opposition to the current health care proposals, countering that the real problem is that the American people don’t have a bill to judge.

“When we have a bill, which we will in a matter of days, then that is the bill that we can sell,” Pelosi told CNN’s Candy Crowley in an interview Friday. She added that the final legislation will settle differences between the House and Senate bills, and that Americans will be more supportive once the bill is released.

“I feel very confident about what’s in there,” she said.

The latest CNN/Opinion Research poll shows that nearly three quarters of respondents believe Congress should either start over on a new bill or drop health care reform altogether.

Earlier Friday, Speaker Pelosi told reporters she’s asking the Senate to “act upon” reconciliation to move forward, a legislative procedural tool that allows bills to pass with a simple majority.

Editor’s Note: Watch Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s interview with Candy Crowley on State of the Union this Sunday at 9am ET.

Further, Gallup’s daily tracking numbers released today confirm a downward slide in approval and surge in disapproval post-summit, with 49% of all adults (not likely voters as measured by the Rasmussen polling noted above) approving of the Obama Presidency while 45% disapprove. It should be noted as well that Gallup’s surveys are done during the day, while Rasmussen’s are done only in the evenings, meaning Gallup’s numbers today are only showng one day of impact from the summit, while Rasmussen’s show two days worth. Overall, the RCP (47.2%/47.1%) and Pollster.com (48.1%/46.8%, not including today’s Gallup/Rasmussen updates) averages of all Obama job approval polls show the President at about 47%-47% approval/disapproval. Finally, the overall voter approval of the health care plans before Congress stands at approximately 40%.

It could be that at times of intense focus on the Democratic plan to pass comprehensive health care reform, President Obama’s approval numbers tend to slide towards the level of public support that exists for Obamacare. Today, President Obama issued yet another Saturday message on Obamacare, keeping the public’s focus on this issue, this time imploring Americans and Congress with “lets get this done.” Considering the overall unpopularity of his comprehensive health care reform plan, and the findings of the CNN, NYT/CBS, Rasmussen, Fox and Gallup polls listed above, it appears that Americans may disagree.

UPDATE: Ed at Hotair covers the Saturday morning Obama message of “so lets get this done” on Obamacare, and notes Obama’s odd usage of Olympic spirit in support of his unpopular bill:

I … did not see this coming. But after a thousand speeches and interviews on this subject, it stands to reason that he’s running low on material. So here’s his entry, I guess, in the local junior-high “What the Olympics Mean to Me” essay contest. Hope you win those Miley Cyrus tickets, champ. For bonus fun, try to imagine the left’s reaction if Palin had touted the Games as inspiration for the Dems to, say, abandon reconciliation. Oh, those simple-minded, pandering teabaggers…

It’ll be sweet watching him back away from this hosanna to national unity next week after he gives the order to nuke the GOP’s filibuster. (One of Pelosi’s top aides claims they’re “reasonably confident” they can get a bill through the House if Reid can get 50 in the Senate.)

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