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July 21, 2011

THE MIDWEEK ROUNDUP

The top five posts from the Progressive Policy Institute

Welcome Back, Gang of Six- Will Marshall

Not a moment too soon, the Gang of Six has resurfaced in the U.S. Senate, breathing new life into hopes for a bipartisan “grand bargain” on deficit reduction.

Even if Eric Cantor were abducted by aliens, there’s no way that Congress could pass the Gang’s elaborate plan to solve the debt crisis before Aug. 2. But the Gang’s resurgence, with growing support from GOP Senators, adds to mounting public pressure on House Republicans to end their self-isolating intransigence on taxes. Read More...

Balanced Budget Amendment: A Gimmicky Diaster-in-Waiting - Will Marshall

By refusing to budge on tax revenues, House Republicans have blown a rare chance to get Democrats to swallow trillions of dollars in federal budget cuts. As New York Times columnist David Brooks notes in a shrewd piece today, cuts of such magnitude would have provoked a rancorous split between President Obama and liberals.

Instead, Republicans have opted for ideological purity, including today’s purely symbolic vote on a balanced budget amendment that isn’t going anywhere. Read more…

Wingnut Watch: Cut, Cap, Balance, Perry. - Ed Kilgore

It’s a High Noon moment in Wingnut World, as conservatives do everything possible to sabotage a deal to increase the debt limit even as their congressional leaders negotiate behind the scenes to make a deal possible. Yesterday’s near-party-line vote in the House passing the “Cut, Cap, Balance Act” represented a particularly vivid demonstration of conservative inflexibility and its grip on the GOP. CCB would write directly into the U.S. Constitution the Right’s current contention that fiscal problems are always and invariably the result of excessive spending, and that a fixed, ideal ratio between spending and GDP can be deduced and legislated forever. Read more…

Family Planning Fight Moves To States - Olivia Marshall

Back in April, House Republicans tried to kill funding for a couple of the right’s favorite bête noires: Planned Parenthood and the Title X federal grant program for family planning. Stymied by Senate Democrats, conservative culture warriors have moved on to what they see as more promising battlegrounds: states with GOP governors or legislatures.

Measures to defund Planned Parenthood already have passed in North Carolina, Indiana, Kansas, and Wisconsin, and are pending in several other states. The states have different strategies for cutting Planned Parenthood out of the action. Mostly, they bar state governments from contracting with the organization for family planning services using federal Medicaid and Title X dollars. Planned Parenthood notes that some states are withholding federal grants specifically earmarked for the organization. Read more…

What Would Reagan Do? - Shannon Leon and Will Marshall

Guess who said this:

“The full consequences of a default – or even the serious prospect of default – by the United States are impossible to predict and awesome to contemplate. Denigration of the full faith and credit of the United States would have substantial effects on the domestic financial markets and the value of the dollar.”

President Obama? Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner? No, Ronald Reagan, in a 1983 letter to then-Senate Majority Leader Howard Baker. And yet GOP Sen. Jim DeMint called Geithner a “Chicken Little” for issuing an almost identical warning against undermining America’s global creditworthiness. Read more…

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