By Jim Galloway
With House Republicans in disarray, the Democratic and Republican leaders of the U.S. Senate have quickly emerged as the dealmakers in the next round of budget negotiations early next year.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., went to the Huffington Post:
[Reid] has no interest in a budget deal that trades sequestration relief for entitlement cuts, believing that future spending reductions scheduled to hit the Pentagon give Democrats the upper hand. Instead, the Nevada Democrat [said] Thursday, any large-scale debt-reduction deal must include increased revenue in exchange for changes to mandatory spending programs.
The government funding and debt limit bill signed Wednesday night sets a Dec. 13 deadline for budget negotiators to report back to Congress. If no deal is struck, Congress will have until Jan. 15 to approve continued government funding or face another shutdown.
Meanwhile, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., favored Robert Costa of the National Review with an exit interview that included this:
Costa: How does the party get beyond this mess? It seems like you’re having a civil war over tactics.
McConnell: Well, for one, we’re not going to do this again in connection with the debt ceiling or with a government shutdown. Look, it’s unlikely the Democratic Senate or Democratic president will do much on Obamacare. We did a minor little income-verification thing, an anti-fraud thing, but beyond that, it’s unlikely. That’s the bad news. The good news is that it’s front and center for the 2014 election. Of the things we can predict for 2014, Obamacare will be front and center, especially in the red states where we could pick up seats.
Campaign contacts for Eugene Yu, the GOP candidate for U.S. Senate from Augusta, tell us they intend to launch the first TV ads of the 2014 season over the weekend. The Halloween-themed video is above. No mention is given as to the size of the buy, but a spokesman said a 50,000-piece mailing will accompany it. Best line:
“Eugene will carve up taxes, spook the IRS, and make Obamacare disappear like a ghost.”
So we all know about a government service out there, considered necessary by its supporters, that’s being absolutely screwed up by a system that doesn’t allow the people who need it to get to it.
For more than a year, Georgians who need food stamps have battled a flawed call-in system that often thwarts their attempts to apply for or renew benefits.
Callers can be on hold for hours, and each month hundreds of thousands of calls go unanswered, according to documents obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution….
The federal food stamp program, formally called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, serves about 1.9 million Georgians. That number has more than doubled since the economy slid into recession in 2007.
Records show that on one phone line over a 12-month period, 41 percent of calls went unanswered. On another, ignored calls shot to 65 percent.
The AJC’s Politifact Georgia today takes a look at U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson’s assertion that “by reducing chronic health care costs in the state of Georgia, we can reduce the $32.8 billion lost each year due to lack of productivity and economic costs."