It is worth noting that some have crossed the aisle to try and hold some discussions about deficit reduction, away from the microphones, podiums and committee rooms. A bipartisan group of senators are attempting to push the fiscal commission recommendations the president chose to ignore, according to The Washington Post. Don't get too excited, it isn't large group — just Sens. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerSunday shows preview: CDC signs off on 'mix and match' vaccine boosters Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by the American Petroleum Institute — Biden seeks to quell concerns over climate proposals Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by the American Petroleum Institute — Intelligence report warns of climate threats in all countries MORE (D-Va.) Tom CoburnThomas (Tom) Allen CoburnBiden and AOC's reckless spending plans are a threat to the planet NSF funding choice: Move forward or fall behind DHS establishes domestic terror unit within its intelligence office MORE (R-OKla.), Mike CrapoMichael (Mike) Dean CrapoDemocrats narrow scope of IRS proposal amid GOP attacks Senate GOP signals they'll help bail out Biden's Fed chair Yellen confident of minimum global corporate tax passage in Congress MORE (R-Idaho) and Dick DurbinDick DurbinManchin: Negotiators to miss Friday target for deal on reconciliation bill Democrats look for plan B on filibuster The Memo: Cuts to big bill vex Democrats MORE (D-Ill). — but bipartisan cooperation will have to start somewhere when neither party controls both chambers in Congress.
Over on the House side, the discussion of Defense Secretary Robert Gates's proposal to cut $78 billion in military spending is dividing the GOP. Despite House Majority Leader Eric CantorEric Ivan CantorBottom line Virginia GOP candidates for governor gear up for convention Cantor: 'Level of craziness' in Washington has increased 'on both sides' MORE's (R-Va.) recent statement that all cuts, including defense, were on the table, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon made clear on Wednesday that he disagrees. "I cannot say it strongly enough: I will not support measures that stress our forces and jeopardize the lives of our men and women in uniform," McKeon said in a statement. Several Tea Party-backed Republicans are now joining McKeon, after what The New York Times described as McKeon's attempt to "educate" them on the depth of the threat and the need for adequate resources.
Let's remember that cutting non-defense discretionary spending — without touching the Pentagon budget, Social Security and Medicare — doesn't get us anywhere because it’s only a small fraction of the federal budget. So until the battle is joined on entitlements we can all just look forward to watching the debt grow larger still along with political posturing and hypocrisy. In my column this week I criticized President Obama for failing to take the initiative in his speech for real deficit reduction. His call to win the future is admirable and well-intentioned, but any suggestion of new spending without getting specific on cuts is not going to fly in this fiscal picture. I am also surprised that BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerRift widens between business groups and House GOP Juan Williams: Pelosi shows her power Debt ceiling games endanger US fiscal credibility — again MORE-saying-retirement-age-needed-to-be-raised-was-mistake" href="http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/140607-boehner-saying-retirement-age-needed-to-be-raised-was-mistake">Boehner is now calling his previous comments about the need to raise the retirement age for Social Security "a mistake."
Many political observers are suggesting President Obama has laid a trap for Republicans, who will continue to say no with spending cuts and healthcare repeal efforts while Obama remains optimistic and hopeful about winning the future by pushing policies to increase our competitiveness. I find it more than bizarre that the same day that the Congressional Budget Office reported the annual debt will now top $1.5 trillion this year, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce decided to put out a joint statement with the AFL-CIO, endorsing Obama's call for new infrastructure spending. Wow.
Can't wait to see what happens next week.
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