NCDP Clips for Tuesday, February 20, 2013


CNN – Congress passive as spending cuts near
If you’re expecting last minute action from Congress to avoid the March 1 spending cut deadline, think again.
Congress isn’t even in session this week, and lawmakers and aides from both parties say they don’t expect anything to pass anytime soon.

THE WASHINGTON POST – Sequester just over a week away, but blame game has already begun
The fight between President Obama and congressional Republicans over the automatic spending cuts that start next week is shifting from one about stopping them to one about assigning blame if they happen.
Obama on Tuesday surrounded himself with firefighters and other first responders at the White House, where he said Republicans would be at fault if the spending reductions take effect and cost the jobs of emergency personnel. The campaign-style event marked the beginning of what aides described as an intensifying push to pressure Congress to postpone the cuts — or to blame Republicans in Congress if it doesn’t.


WCNC – McCrory signs unemployment bill into law
Gov. Pat McCrory has signed into law changes to North Carolina’s unemployment insurance system that supporters say will put the plan on firmer footing.
Critics say the changes will devastate the jobless with decreased benefits or none at all.
The Republican governor signed the bill Tuesday morning in his office as several legislators watched. The media was not invited to the signing.

NEWS & OBSERVER – Gov. Pat McCrory signs bill that transforms jobless system
Republican Gov. Pat McCrory on Tuesday signed what he called a bipartisan bill that addresses the state’s $2.5 billion unemployment debt to the federal government by overhauling the state’s unemployment system, including significantly cutting benefits for the jobless.
“This bipartisan solution will protect our small businesses from continued over-taxation, ensure our citizens’ unemployment safety net is secure and financially sound for future generations, and help provide an economic climate that allows job creators to start hiring again,” McCrory said in a statement.

THE HUFFINGTON POST – Pat McCrory, North Carolina GOP Governor, Signs Law Slashing Unemployment Benefits
North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory on Tuesday signed into law a measure that will cut benefits for jobless workers by about one-third and reduce how long they can collect any aid in a state with the fifth-highest unemployment rate in the country.
The Republican governor said the legislation, the second bill he has signed since taking office at the start of the year, marked an important step toward fixing the state’s unemployment insurance system.
The overhaul will allow North Carolina to repay $2.5 billion borrowed from the federal government for unemployment benefits at a quicker pace.


WRAL – NC House panel to consider “death” tax
Republicans at the North Carolina General Assembly are working on a tax code overhaul they want passed before they adjourn this year. But that’s not stopping House GOP members from trying now to eliminate portions of the tax law they find onerous.
The House Finance Committee is scheduled Wednesday to consider a bill to repeal the state’s estate tax. Republicans have called the levy a “death tax” that can harm small business owners.

NEWS & OBSERVER – NC lawmakers slow pace of bill hitting Obamacare
The rapid advance of legislation preventing North Carolina from expanding Medicaid with federal funds and managing run an online marketplace for private health insurance is hitting a speed bump.
The state Senate on Tuesday voted to reject changes made in the House. Republicans who run both chambers will appoint a committee to iron out differences.


THE WASHINGTON POST – Will Obama urge court on same-sex marriage?
RUTH MARCUS – Will President Obama say to the Supreme Court what he said to the American people in his second inaugural address about same-sex marriage?
Obama’s remarks were striking, on several levels. First, that he dared to broach what was once a hot-button issue in such a high-stakes venue. Second, that he phrased the argument for same-sex marriage so passionately. Third, and perhaps most important, that he did so in a way that conflicted with his previous discussion of the issue.

THE WASHINGTON POST – RINOs need to take back the Republican Party
KATHLEEN PARKER – RINO-hunting, the long-popular political sport that morphed in 2008 into a sort of hysteria-driven obsession, lately has become a suicide mission.
RINO, of course, refers to Republicans In Name Only and is the pejorative term used against those who fail to march in lockstep with the so-called conservative base. I used “so-called” because, though the hard-right faction of the party tends to be viewed as The Base, this isn’t necessarily so. My guess is there are now more RINOs than those who, though evangelical in their zeal, are poison to their party’s ability to win national elections.


Clay Pittman
Press Secretary
North Carolina Democratic Party
Twitter: @ClayPittman