January 2, 2011

Sunday School: 1/2/11

A mixed bag (three Reps and two Dems) appeared on CBS’ Face the Nation this morning. On Republican unity, Michele Bachmann (R-MN) indicated the Reps are fairly unified even if they won’t agree on everything. Speaking on bipartisanship, NY Dem Anthony Weiner indicated that it's a means, not an end – legislation has to meet the values of his constituents, not just be bipartisan for the sake of it. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) pointed out that the trick now is for the Reps to not squander the progress that’s been made in moving the economy forward.

Tea-partier Mike Kelly babbled quite a bit about having been living in the real world and having to pay his own way; now that he’s only a couple of days away from being sworn in to serve in the 112th Congress, spending our money instead of his own, he didn’t have much to offer.

Darrell Issa (R-CA) takes over as chair of the House Oversight/Government Reform Committee. He spent much of his time talking about Medicare fraud. Best line? “We can save one hundred twenty five billion in simply not giving out money to Medicare recipients who don’t exist for procedures that didn’t happen.” Everyone, regardless of political stripe, should be able to get behind that one.

He also advised that his boomer wife is collecting Social Security now, and he plans on collecting himself when the time comes. Hope there’s money left. 

On NCB’s Meet The Press, Lindsey Graham (R-SC) misstated the ‘mandate’ of the last election as Americans rejecting Dem policies because of too much debt and too much government growth. Voters actually said this, but we’ll forgive the Bachelor from SC. He indicated that we have to get Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae ‘in a more privatized environment’ and on healthcare, he’s in favor of allowing states to opt out of the individual mandate, the employer mandate, and Medicaid expansion.

He’s also in favor of raising the retirement age and looking at means testing for Social Security. Darrell Issa, beware.

Graham’s candidate for President in 2012? “The most electable conservative.” He meant Romney; but the 'electable' tag seems to leave out Ms. Palin, thankfully. 

Last, over on Fox News Sunday, the conversation centered on the new Congress and their plans.  Fred Upton (R-MI) promised a vote on repealing the entire health care reform bill before the State of the Union address, and then attacking pieces of the bill individually; he believes they might actually get it voted down in the House.

Issa, again, this time talking about holding hearings on regulatory impediments to job creation.  That should be fun.  Allan West (R-FL) complained about House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) and his plan to have everyone spend less time in Washington. In Cantor’s view, the more time they spend in Washington the ‘bigger’ government is; West and other Tea Partiers are not enthralled with that position. I suspect most Americans would rather have them working than wandering around raising money or worse, spending money 'fact-finding' all over the world. 

None of the Reps on FNS would admit to wanting a government shutdown come March, so we can expect the debt ceiling to rise in the spring. What we get in return remains to be seen.