“Maine's Republican senators will vote against the House Republican 2012 budget authored by Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, with Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe in opposition to the House GOP-proposed Medicare changes,” the Portland Press Herald reports.
“House and Senate leaders are setting themselves up to fail,” Roll Call writes. “Senate Democrats have long been planning for this week’s political show vote designed to defeat the House Republican budget plan, and now the House GOP has its own show planned — a stand-alone debt ceiling vote as soon as next week with the express purpose of killing it.”
“House Republicans will hold a symbolic vote next week to pressure Democrats into accepting deep spending cuts in exchange for lifting the $14.3 trillion debt limit,” The Hill reports. “The move, announced Tuesday in a closed-door conference meeting, is designed to show President Obama and Senate Democrats that Congress will not unconditionally grant the government more borrowing authority.”
Vice President Biden stopped at a stakeout in the Capitol last night after more than two hours of deficit reduction talks, NBC’s Libby Leist reports. Biden told reporters that White House, Republican and Democratic negotiators are making progress towards agreeing on a large number of cuts. "I think we're in a position where we'll be able to get to well above a trillion dollars pretty quickly in terms of what would be a downpayment on the process," he said. Biden added, "Everybody knows that at the end of the day, we're going to have to make some really tough decisions on some of the big ticket items"
Biden said he told Republicans that "revenues" are going to have to be part of the deal and when asked if they accepted that he joked, "Republicans love it, they just love it"
He ended by saying he couldn’t reveal any more details. "The bottom line is the best way to test it is, in my view being around here all these years, we've been having serious meetings about the most critical issue facing the country economically and everybody's still talking to one another and they're not talking much to you." The group included Sens. Kyl, Inouye, Baucus and House members Cantor, Van Hollen, and Clyburn.
How about this fact? “With Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR) and his wife filing for divorce last week, The Oregonian reports that every lawmaker who has represented Oregon's 5th congressional district has divorced while in office,” PoliticalWire writes.
Is Grover Norquist the biggest obstacle standing in the way of a bipartisan compromise on the nation’s long-term debt? Bloomberg writes, per PoliticalWire: "There may be enough congressional Republicans enthralled with Norquist, a small-government advocate who has spent the last quarter-century pressing lawmakers to sign a pledge never to raise taxes, to kill any comprehensive, bipartisan deal to rein in the $14.3 trillion national debt, say current and former members of Congress." And: Norquist "says he has secured written pledges from 40 of the 47 Republicans in the Senate and 233 of 240 party members in the House."