#NCGA Republican in-fighting on taxes delay budget, N.C. Senate votes for super trash dumps legislation, Leader Pelosi slams ‘amateur hour’ on U.S. House Farm Bill, inside the border deal on Immigration Reform, former-Sen. Elizabeth Dole weighs in on 2016
Fayetteville Observer: NC tax negotiations delaying budget talks
Negotiations on a tax overhaul plan probably will require the General Assembly to pass a stop-gap spending measure to keep funding North Carolina state government into the new fiscal year. Intense talks on a two-year budget plan should be happening by now, but they’ve been delayed while a tax deal between the Senate and House is worked out.
Greensboro News & Record: N.C. tax reform dreams shrivel
Bold visions of massive tax reform boiled down to a stalemate this week over much smaller plans, and the state’s top political leaders plan to work out their differences behind closed doors..Republicans in the N.C. House and Senate have competing plans, but both would cut business and income taxes, implement a flat individual income tax rate, and make dozens of other incremental changes to the state tax code. Republicans, backed by a number of tax and business groups, argued that the cuts will draw new jobs to North Carolina. Democrats, with studies from their own policy groups, said both plans are good for the rich and bad for the poor, but the Senate’s plan is the worst.
Winston-Salem Journal: Lawmakers debate N.C. landfill, beach protection
A measure to ease landfill restrictions approved six years ago received tentative approval Thursday in the state Senate. Senate Republicans, however, have been thwarted by their House counterparts in removing a cap put in place two years ago on the number of erosion control structures that can be built on coastal inlets. The Senate voted 28-18 to change the 2007 landfill law, which had the backing of environmentalists and community activists trying to prevent mega-landfills from being permitted in eastern North Carolina and then hauling in out-of-state trash.
Charlotte Observer: NC House stops 75 mph bill
Worries about more deaths in high-speed crashes derailed a bill that would open the possibility of legal highway speeds of 75 mph in North Carolina.Lawmakers who warned of increased danger said cars and highways may be safer, but human reflexes haven’t improved and driver distractions have increased. House Majority Leader Edgar Starnes said his mother, who rarely talks about legislation, heard about the bill and asked him, “Have you folks completely lost your mind?”
Dome: Negotiating teams picked for legislative fracking showdown
The fate of shale gas exploration in North Carolina is in the hands of 10 lawmakers elected to negotiate a deal out of two contrary pieces of legislation setting the state’s energy policy. The Senate version would lift the state’s fracking moratorium, boot the State Geologist from the N.C. Mining & Energy Commission, allow for injecting fracking waste in wells, and eliminate a registry for "landmen" who sign drill leases with property owners. House members expressed shock that the Senate would attempt to revise the state’s fracking policy, which was set last year by legislation. Getting it done required overriding Gov. Bev Perdue’s veto — by a single vote — a year ago.
The Hill: Pelosi slams GOP ‘amateur hour’ on handling farm bill
Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Thursday blamed Republicans for sinking the farm bill, saying GOP leaders simply failed to rally enough majority-party support to send the bill to the Senate. “The Republicans have the majority of Congress and it’s their responsibility to send a bill,” Pelosi said shortly after the vote. “What [was] happening on the floor today was a demonstration of major amateur hour. They didn’t get results and they put the blame on somebody else.” The House shot down the five-year, $940 billion farm bill in a 195-234 vote, with just 24 Democrats supporting the measure and 62 Republicans opposing it.
Washington Post: House defeats farm bill in a surprise move
A broad five-year farm bill went down to a surprise defeat in the House on Thursday when Republican conservatives revolted against the legislation, arguing that it would cost too much, while Democrats defected, saying it would not spend enough on their priorities. Democrats, who opposed a $20.5 billion cut to the food-stamp program in the measure, said the failure was the result of Republicans’ inability to govern their caucus or count votes. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called it “amateur hour.”
Politico: Inside the border deal that almost failed
Sen. Chuck Schumer spent Tuesday privately urging President Barack Obama and the entire Democratic caucus to just be patient — a border security deal they could accept was still within reach. But after a testy, 45-minute call that night with a lead Republican negotiator of a possible compromise, Schumer could no longer follow his own advice. And yet, less than 24 hours later, they had a deal. The answer to their problem turned out to be simple: Throw money at it.
The Hill: Senators reach critical border security deal on immigration bill
Senate negotiators have reached a tentative deal on a border security amendment that could bring more Republican support to immigration reform. Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) on Thursday said some details needed to be worked through but added he thought the deal could be announced. Sens. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), two members of the Gang of Eight who drafted the bill, have both set 70 votes as a target to build momentum in the House, where the prospects for immigration reform are tougher.
Politico: 70 votes now possible for immigration deal
The Senate Gang of Eight edged closer to supermajority support on its immigration bill with Thursday’s breakthrough agreement on border security and other measures meant to attract wavering Republican senators. Thursday’s agreement helps smooth the path to final approval of the bill in the Senate by the July 4 recess, leaders said. “It is safe to say this agreement has the power to change minds in the Senate,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), one of the architects of the immigration bill.
Politico: Ann Coulter waits for ‘Rubio-free’ Senate
Conservative firebrand Ann Coulter is warning Republicans not to vote for immigration reform, saying the House shouldn’t touch the issue until there is a Republican-controlled, “Rubio-free” Senate.“The patriotic House member’s position has got to be until the Senate is in Republican hands, preferably Rubio-free, sorry, we’re not even going to pass a bill that mentions immigration”“John Boehner secretly wants to pass amnesty because his idiot consultants are telling him, ‘Oh, it’s going to be a great boon for Republicans, having 30 million voters who will never vote for a Republican,’”
Huffington Post: Student Loan Proposal Would Avert Deadline, But Raise Borrowing Costs, Boosting Government Profit
Student borrowers and their families would pay more to finance college under a proposal pushed by a bipartisan group of senators, increasing the federal government’s profits despite warnings over record student debt levels. The bipartisan Senate plan, according to a draft obtained by the Huffington Post, would put the annual rate for undergraduate Stafford loans at 2 percentage points above the yield on the 10-year Treasury note. Stafford loans for graduate students would be set at 3.5 percentage points above the 10-year Treasury. PLUS loans — used by graduate students who exhaust Stafford limits and by parents of undergraduates who need additional funds to finance ever-expensive college tuition — would be set at 4.5 percentage points above 10-year notes.
U.S. SUPREME COURT
New York Times: Court Finds AIDS Program’s Rules Violate Free Speech
Groups receiving federal money to combat AIDS abroad may not be required to adopt policies opposing prostitution, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday. The case arose from a 2003 law that requires private groups that receive federal money to combat AIDS abroad to have “a policy explicitly opposing prostitution.” The restriction does not apply to other recipients, including the World Health Organization.
Politico: Elizabeth Dole: Hillary Clinton 2016 ‘front-runner’
Former Sen. Elizabeth Dole, who briefly ran for president herself, on Thursday called Hillary Clinton a “front-runner.” “I have to say as far as Hillary is concerned, you know … we can recognize that we’re past the point of a woman being accepted as president because she almost made it last time, and also just to think she could be a front-runner — a few years ago, that wouldn’t have been something that would have been conceivable,” Dole, a former Republican senator from North Carolina, said on “CBS This Morning.” “But she is the front-runner.”
Micah Beasley, Press Secretary
North Carolina Democratic Party