This past week, the Environmental Protection Agency released its much-anticipated regulations demanding that any new coal-fired power plants reduce emissions by 50 percent. Virginia Rep. Morgan Griffith represents a coal-rich district in southwest Virginia. He says President Obama and the EPA are undoubtedly waging a war on coal. He says the new rules will block the construction of any new power plants and he fears they will soon apply to existing plants as well. Griffith says even emerging clean coal technology wouldn’t reduce emissions enough to comply with the new regulations. He explains the impact this will have on jobs in many areas and on everyone’s power bills.
Archives for March 2012
Democrats and the Budget
For the past couple of days, we’ve talked with Republican members of Congress to discuss the best way forward on spending cuts, entitlement reform, tax policy and more. Democrats voted en masse against the final House bill but they also unanimously rejected the Obama budget. So what do they want? Larry Haas served as spokesman for the Office of Management and Budget in the Clinton administration. He says Democrats largely voted no because they saw no upside to owning any budget proposal that will never be approved in the Senate. Haas explains why he is staunchly supportive of tax hikes – especially on the wealthy. And he addresses calls for a marginal rate tax cut combined with closing most tax loopholes.
Great Blunder of Just A Gaffe?
John Gizzi of Human Events weighs in on a very busy week in politics. Gizzi explains why critics of the Obama health laws got the upper hand in oral arguments but could still lose in the end. Nonetheless, Gizzi offers his predictions for the rulings we’re likely to see in June. He also analyzes President Obama’s unintentionally public comments about missile defense and how they could impact the 2012 race. We also ask Gizzi whether the mountain of GOP endorsements for Mitt Romney will really pave the way to securing the nomination sooner rather than later.
‘I’m Just A Pill’
The Capitol Steps have watched the fierce debate over the Obama administration’s contraception mandate. So after listening to all sides, the Steps examine the issue from the perspective of contraception itself. Our guest is Steps star Elaina Newport.
Three Martini Lunch 3/30/12
Greg Corombos of Radio America and Jim Geraghty of National Review cheer the four Senate Democrats that joined with most Republicans in shooting down President Obama’s effort to raise taxes on oil companies. They also grimace as success of Republican governors could help Obama in key swing states. And they have fun with Joe Biden’s latest bizarre comments.
Too Close to Call
Conservatives were mostly encouraged by this week’s oral arguments at the Supreme Court over the president’s health care laws – particularly the fight over the constitutionality of the individual mandate. Ed Whelan is president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center and is a former clerk for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. He explains why the oral arguments seemed to help Obamacare opponents and why it’s never a good idea to predict a ruling based on oral arguments. Whelan tells us why expectations that Justice Scalia would be sympathetic to the government on the Commerce Clause were really overblown. He also explains what happens next, from justices taking preliminary votes as early as Friday, putting together opinions and justices having the freedom to change their minds until just before the rulings are revealed.
Inside the Budget Battle
For the past couple of days, members of the House of Representatives have been debating many different proposals for a Fiscal Year 2013 budget blueprint. Oklahoma Rep, James Lankford is a member of the House Budget Committee. He explains why the Obama administration’s budget was defeated 414-0 on Wednesday night and why he’s strongly supportive of the plan unveiled last week by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan. Lankford gives us some insight into the budgetary priorities of House Democrats and what he thinks of the Republican Study Committee budget we profiled on Wednesday. The RSC budget was being voted upon as we spoke. It was ultimately defeated 285-136, meaning dozens of Republicans voted against it.
Three Martini Lunch 3/29/12
Greg Corombos of Radio America and Jim Geraghty of National Review cheer the House of Representatives defeating the Obama budget 414-0. They also regret to learn that Marco Rubio really doesn’t want to be the GOP vice presidential nominee this year. And they have fun with Vice President Biden’s latest verbal blunder.
Balanced Budget in Five Years?
Last week, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan unveiled the new GOP budget, which he says makes the tough decisions necessary to bring our nation back to fiscal responsibility. His plan would reduce projected spending by more than $5.3 trillion over 10 years, address major entitlement reform and balance the budget by 2040. The Republican Study Committee likes a lot of what it sees in the Ryan plan but does not believe it goes far enough. The coalition of House conservatives is offering its own plan – one that will balance the budget within just five years. RSC Chairman and Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan details the blueprint for us. Jordan explains how repealing Obamacare and dozens of redundant programs on health, job training and welfare would make a huge dent. The plan also restores much of the defense spending currently scheduled for major cuts. It honors the spending cuts mandated by the failure of the super committee but no longer demands that it come from national security spending. Jordan explains how just returning discretionary spending to just below 2008 levels would make a huge annual difference and why block granting Medicaid to the states is another huge money saver. He details how entitlement reform would be structured, even though it wouldn’t impact the bottom line in the next decade. Rep. Jordan also explains how the RSC plan will factor into the larger budget debate over the next couple of days.
Obamacare and the Court
For the past three days, the Supreme Court has heard arguments on four different aspects of President Obama’s controversial health care laws. Justices heard debate on whether the individual mandate is constitutional, whether the penalty for not buying coverage would be a tax or not, whether striking down the mandate would mean the death of the whole law and whether the federal government can force states to drastically increase Medicaid spending. Galen Institute President Grace-Marie Turner is a strong critic of the laws and is cautiously optimistic about how the verdicts may come down. Turner explains why she thinks her side will succeed in seeing the mandate get struck down but she’s less certain about what would happen to the rest of the law. Turner also explains the tough work facing the justices long before the rest of us know the decisions.