Manic Monday Markup 9/30/13…
We being today in Washington, where the Republican party continues to insist that the Affordable Care Act a.k.a. Obamacare, be delayed a year before they agree to fund the government. A proposal that GOP sent back to the Senate Saturday did not just delay the law, however, it also included such goodies as a provision that would let employers dictate their female employees’ health decisions. The Senate is poised to knock down the House changes, but it is possible that Republicans may be about capitulate. A potentially vulnerable Pennsylvania Republican says a clean funding bill could pass and Greg Sargent notes that Boehner could be engaging in brinksmanship to prove to conservatives the anti-Obamacare crusade is hopeless. Indeed, passing a clean funding bill probably would not endanger Boehner’s speakership. Oh, and the conservative National Review knocks down the myth on the Congressional exemption to Obamacare.
…And the World:
The intrigue and back and forth among the US, Israel and Iran goes on. After Presidents Obama and Rouhani’s historic phone call, there is a renewed effort to reach a pact on Iran’s nuclear program. The Israelis are suspicious and don’t trust any of Iran’s overtures. Obama, after meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyau, said nothing is off the table with respect to Iran. The Iranians too seem wobbly at times, on the one hand urging a pact, but expressing an inability to fully trust the US.
Italy’s fragile government is in crisis as former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s party pulled out of a coalition government. But Berlusconi is facing some dissent from within his party as well.
The ruling party in Tunisia, the nation that touched off the Arab Spring, has agreed to resign and hand the country over to a caretaker government pending elections. The country’s major labor union helped broker the compromise. While most Arab Spring countries have experienced something much short of the movement’s goals, Tunisia has been relatively stable, despite crises provoked by high profile assassinations.
The Feds (cont’d):
Today in marriage equality, a New Jersey judge ruled that the Garden State must allow same-sex couples to marry in light of the Supreme Court’s decision in US v. Windsor, which struck part of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act. Meanwhile, the unlikely duo of David Boise and Ted Olsen, who litigated the fight against California’s same-sex marriage ban, are training their fire at Virginia next.
The US Justice Department will sue the State of North Carolina to stop its Voter ID law, called one of the most far-reaching in the country, from going into effect. Attorney General Eric Holer made the announcement with the Tarheel State’s three US Attorneys on hand.
With his poll numbers sagging, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli faced off against Terry McAuliffe (indirectly) in the campaign to become the state’s next governor. Elsewhere, video has emerged of Cuccinelli praising Texas anarchist Senate Ted Cruz saying we need more of him in Congress.
The State of Things:
The battle for Boston’s top job goes on between Councilor John Connolly and Representative Martin Walsh. After a back and forth over a new people’s pledge, which Walsh rejected and David Bernstein mocked, Walsh found himself in a pickle after attacking a recent arbitration award for the city’s police union. He chided the mayor for letting arbitration to happen, essentially agreeing with Mayor Menino’s call to the Council to vote down the award. But Walsh sponsored a bill that would bind police and fire arbitration awards on city councils, too. Guess who one of the cosponsors was? Former Springfield City Councilor Angelo Puppolo.
The Massachusetts Legislature and Governor Deval Patrick have repealed the unwieldy “tech tax” intended to fund transportation projects in the commonwealth. It will be replaced with…nothing. Transportation goes unfunded again.
Three members of the Longmeadow Select Board are taking heat…from one of their own for allegedly violating open meeting laws.
Springfield has scored another federal grant, this one for the schools with the help of Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey and Congressman Richard Neal.
Almost no news about the Springfield School Committee election has made it into the area media. We have a primer, politics and all, on the race for the at-large seats.
The insanity of the current standoff over the budget has many dimensions. Among the all too rarely noted ones, as President Obama just said, are the fact that keeping the government open is not a concession to him. But it may be the paradoxes that make the GOP’s posture all the stranger. Should the government shut down tomorrow, the Affordable Care Act will still be implemented as spending for the measure was enacted when the bill was passed. It is not part of the annual appropriation. Consequently, the very thing the GOP wants to eliminate in exchange for keeping the government open, will go on if the standoff endures. But that is not all. Today we award the Tweet Prize to Markos Moulitsas of the Daily Kos, whose tweet underscores the above paradox and enumerates the other entities hated by the GOP that will endure a shutdown like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Social
Obamacare, CFPB, Social Security … so the only things that keep running during govt shutdown are things Republicans hate
— Markos Moulitsas (@markos) September 30, 2013