NCDP Clips for Wednesday, January 16, 2013
NBC NEWS – House OK’s $50.7 billion in Sandy emergency funding
The U.S. House of Representatives Tuesday night approved an additional $33.7 billion in funding for emergency spending on recovery efforts aimed at helping those devastated by Hurricane Sandy. The final vote came after the House had passed another $17 billion in spending earlier in the day.
The approval of the $50.7 billion came only after political debates over spending that does not directly go to the areas impacted by the super storm.
The House GOP leadership carefully orchestrated a multi-stage process designed to permit Republican members to vote for some Sandy aid, but not the full $60.4 billion the Senate OK’d last year, if they objected to that much spending. By designing the process in this way, the GOP leadership made it highly likely that the total package will ultimately become law after the Senate acts next week.
THE HUFFINGTON POST – Sandy Relief Passes House Despite Conservative Opposition
A measure providing $51 billion for relief and recovery from Hurricane Sandy was approved by a bipartisan majority in the House on Tuesday evening, three weeks after Northeast Republicans excoriated the chamber’s GOP leaders for failing to vote on storm aid before the end of the last Congress.
An amendment to the relief package introduced by Tea Party-allied conservatives requiring across-the-board cuts to defense and domestic programs to pay for $17 billion of storm aid was supported by a majority of Republicans, but was defeated 258-162 with a combination of GOP and Democratic votes.
The full $51 billion relief bill passed the House 241-180, with 179 Republicans opposed.
CHICAGO TRIBUNE – Obama gun control plan: President to propose assault weapons ban, tougher background checks
President Barack Obama will propose an assault weapons ban and better background checks for gun buyers on Wednesday as part of a package of proposals to curb gun violence one month after the Newtown school massacre.
The proposals will include executive and legislative measures, with the latter sure to face an uphill battle in Congress, where appetite for renewing an assault weapons ban is low.
Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, who led a task force that made recommendations on the issue, will present the measures at a White House event attended by children from around the country who wrote letters to the president about gun violence and school safety.
Obama will urge lawmakers to act quickly, White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters.
CBS NEWS – What are Obama’s gun control proposals?
President Obama will formally announce his proposals today for reducing gun violence in America, setting the stage for what may well be a protracted congressional fight over tightening up gun control — one of the most politically contentious issues in Washington.
While the president reportedly plans to implement a list of 19 executive orders – laws that can be changed without congressional action, including some that are related to data collection on firearms in the hands of criminals and overall gun violence – there are a few ideas that he needs to work with Congress on that he and Vice President Joe Biden have already discussed in public.
The Washington Post – Obama to outline gun control plans Wednesday, including assault weapons ban, executive actions
President Barack Obama’s broad effort to reduce gun violence will include proposed bans on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines as well as more than a dozen executive orders aimed at circumventing congressional opposition to stricter gun control.
Obama was to announce the measures Wednesday at a White House event that will bring together law enforcement officials, lawmakers and children who wrote the president about gun violence following last month’s shooting of 20 young students and six adults at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn.
NORTH CAROLINA DEMOCRATIC PARTY
WRAL – Hopefuls to lead NC Democrats meet at public forum
The two announced candidates to lead North Carolina Democrats are getting together before an audience to discuss their goals after a difficult 2012 election in state politics for their party.
Pittsboro Mayor Randy Voller and former state Sen. Eric Mansfield of Fayetteville planned to attend a public forum Wednesday evening in Chapel Hill, hosted by the Orange County Democratic Party.
Mansfield and Voller are seeking to succeed David Parker as North Carolina Democratic Party chairman. The party’s executive committee meets Feb. 2 in Durham to choose.
ABC 11 – Perdue campaign spends $46K in final months
Former North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue’s campaign still had more than $1 million a few days before she left office.
The Bev Perdue Committee told the State Board of Elections in a campaign report she spent $46,000 from late October through Dec. 31. Perdue did not run for re-election in 2012.
Perdue’s report that the board received Monday said she gave $4,000 each to fellow Democrat Walter Dalton’s unsuccessful gubernatorial campaign and Linda Coleman’s legal fund as Coleman closely examined ballots in her narrow loss to Dan Forest for lieutenant governor.
Perdue gave $250,000 to the state Democratic Party during the third quarter.
THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION
CNN – Obama’s cabinet: Who’s in, who’s out?
As President Obama prepares to begin his second term in office, he’s expected to make some changes to key positions in his cabinet. Here’s a look at the current cabinet, and who may be under consideration to serve in the next term.
NPR – Interior Sec. Salazar Is Latest Member Of Cabinet To Announce Departure
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar intends to step down at the end of March, his office confirms to NPR’s Jeff Brady.
Word of Salazar’s plan broke over night. According to The Denver Post, the former senator from Colorado intends to "return to Colorado to spend time with his family."
NBC NEWS – Citizen United ruling opened door to $933 million in new election spending
The Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision unleashed nearly $1 billion in new political spending in the 2012 election, with media outlets and a small number of political consulting firms raking in the bulk of the proceeds.
Spending records released by the Federal Election Commission show that throughout the 2012 election, corporations, unions and individuals that could take advantage of the high court’s ruling were responsible for about $933 million of the estimated $6 billion spent during the contest.
NBC NEWS – ‘We have to compete’: GOP assesses path back to power
As they prepare to settle in for another four years of President Barack Obama, Republicans are already busily working on their roadmap to retake the levers of power in Washington. Whether they will need a modest re-calibration or a wholesale reinvention remains an open question.
Obama’s November victory arguably marked a new low point for the GOP. The Republican Party now wrestles with a president unburdened with the stresses of an impending re-election campaign and enjoying relatively high popularity.
What’s more, Obama has already worked to set in motion an aggressive – and mostly progressive – agenda that makes most conservatives cringe.
THE NEW YORK TIMES – Deafness at Doomsday
LAWERENCE M. KRAUSS – To our great peril, the scientific community has had little success in recent years influencing policy on global security. Perhaps this is because the best scientists today are not directly responsible for the very weapons that threaten our safety, and are therefore no longer the high priests of destruction, to be consulted as oracles as they were after World War II.
The problems scientists confront today are actually much harder than they were at the dawn of the nuclear age, and their successes more heartily earned. This is why it is so distressing that even Stephen Hawking, perhaps the world’s most famous living scientist, gets more attention for his views on space aliens than his views on nuclear weapons.Scientists’ voices are crucial in the debates over the global challenges of climate change, nuclear proliferation and the potential creation of new and deadly pathogens. But unlike in the past, their voices aren’t being heard.
THE NEW YORK TIMES – Obama’s 1-2 Punch?
THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN – If election campaigns are supposed to be an exercise in coming to grips with our biggest problems, then the one we just went through was a dismal failure. Our only real solution — a strategy to reignite consistent growth so we can narrow our income gaps and lift the middle class — never got a serious airing. Instead, each side was focused on how to secure a bigger slice of a shrinking pie for its own base. This lousy campaign produced the worst of all outcomes: President Obama won on a platform that had little to do with our core problems and is only a small part of the solution — raising taxes on the wealthy — so he has little incentive to rethink his strategy. And the Republicans did not lose badly enough — they held the House — to have to fully rethink their strategy. It does not bode well.
THE LOS ANGELES TIMES – In right-wing delusions, Obama’s gun control plan is monarchy
DAVID HORSEY – Even before President Obama announced his proposed gun control measures, right-wing paranoids and Republican members of Congress were raving about impeachment, incipient monarchy and civil war.
Obama’s proposal is expected to include a call for banning military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, as well as strengthening the background check system for gun buyers. While Congress would have to approve those major steps, he may also lay out 19 actions he can take by executive order, such as mandating that federal agencies gather data on gun safety.
THE LOS ANGELES TIMES – For Democrats, unity and its pitfalls
DOYLE McMANUS – It’s hard to recognize the Democratic Party these days. In recent decades, it’s been a divided, brawling tribe. But this year, Democrats are one big, happy family.
Sure, there was grumbling from the left over President Obama’s agreement to keep tax cuts in place for couples making between $250,000 and $450,000 a year. But that quickly gave way to satisfaction that Obama had won the "fiscal cliff" fight, and growing confidence that he can win the next round over the federal debt ceiling as well.