News/Lawmaker News/Administration

News/Lawmaker News/Administration

W.H. adviser: Deficit plan coming this week

President Obama this week will unveil a new long-term deficit-reduction proposal that touches on the Bush tax cuts and entitlement spending, White House senior adviser David Plouffe said Sunday.

Plouffe blasted the House GOP budget for lowering taxes for the wealthy while making significant reductions in Medicare and Medicaid spending.

“The president believes this has to be a balanced approach,” Plouffe said on Fox News Sunday.

However, Republicans have criticized the White House for punting on Medicare and Medicaid reforms in the 2012 budget it released in February.

Plouffe said the plan will take on the Bush tax cuts, which Congress voted to extend in the December lame-duck session. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), who appeared later in the show, said the White House is trying to defend the extension of the tax cuts while paring them back.

“They’re insistent we have to raise taxes again,” Cantor said.


Plouffe to give remarks available to 'pencil press' only

Remember when President Obama's campaign manager David Plouffe riled everyone up in February by giving a speech at the National Press Club that was closed press?

It looks like Plouffe is now set to give speech at the end of April that straddles the line between open and closed press.

Plouffe is scheduled to speak at the American Hospital Association's annual membership meeting from April 27 to 29, according to a release from the group. Plouffe's remarks are denoted as "for pencil press only." That means that radio and television coverage is not allowed, according to a spokesman for the group. The spokesman also said that that broadcast media is not allowed for "contract reasons."

That seems to indicate that, like the Press Club event, Plouffe is probably negotiating how open his speeches are to the press in his contract. I'm not sure why there is a very big difference between print reporters and broadcast media, though. Don't they know we all have recorders?

Obama Team Quiets Talk About Pritzker, Napolitano

Penny Pritzker, the chief fundraiser for President-elect Obama's campaign, won't serve as Commerce Secretary, contrary to prior reports, according to a senior Obama official who spoke to The Swamp.

"Penny Pritzker ultimately has decided she does not want to do the Commerce thing," the source said.

CNN had reported that Pritzker was the top choice for the post and that Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano (D) was the top choice to head the Homeland Security Department.

The Obama official, however, said that Napolitano's appointment isn't a done deal.

"I expect Napolitano will end up in the cabinet," the official told The Swamp. "But whether she ends up where the speculation is (has her), I don't know."

Report: Holder to Serve as Attorney General

Newsweek is reporting that Eric Holder has accepted an offer to become Attorney General in President-elect Barack Obama's upcoming administration.

Holder served a senior legal adviser to Obama's presidential campaign and as a member of his vice presidential selection committee. Holder was also a deputy attorney general in the Clinton administration.

A source "close to the presidential transition" said that Holder accepted the job but still has to undergo a formal vetting process. The source told Newsweek that the formal announcement of Holder as attorney general isn't expected until after Obama names his secretaries of State and Defense.

Holder worked as a federal prosecutor who went after public corruption. He has also been a critic of the Bush administration's attempts to expand executive power.

Gore, Powell and Kennedys Mentioned for Cabinet Posts

An unsourced flowchart of President-elect Barack Obama's transition includes some recognizable names.

The chart, obtained by Washington Whispers, names former Vice President Al Gore as the top choice for "energy czar." The chart has former Secretary of State Colin Powell as a leading candidate for Education Secretary, Robert Kennedy Jr. as a candidate for head of the Environmental Protection Agency and Caroline Kennedy as a possibility fo ambassador to the United Nations.

Download the chart here.

No Cabinet Appointments This Week

President-elect Barack Obama won't name his Treasury Secretary or other members of his cabinet this week, according to two reports.

Obama won't name his top economic advisers before the economic summit that President Bush has scheduled for this weekend, reports Bloomberg, which cites people familiar with the matter. The candidates most often mentioned for the top Treasury post are Lawrence Summers, former Harvard University president and the Treasury Secretary during the Clinton administration, and Timothy Geithner, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank in New York.

Obama won't name other members of his cabinet this week, either, according to Marc Ambinder, who speaks to an aide on Obama's transition team.