Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, D-N.D., wanted to do the right thing. He wanted to introduce a Democratic budget, allow amendments, and allow a vote on final passage. He wanted the American people to see how their elected representatives planned to spend their money. But Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., had other plans.
Yesterday, Conrad held a 2:45 PM press conference where he released a Democrat budget virtually identical to the Bowles-Simpson plan that President Obama rejected in 2010. Conrad promised that he would hold a mark up hearing on the budget where Senators could offer amendments and the committee could vote on final approval. But this did not sit will with Reid. A real Senate debate about budget priorities would expose how radical Obama’s spending plans are and force the president to reject his own fiscal commission plan again. Not that the Bowles-Simpson is perfect either. It contains no spending cuts beyond the spending caps Congress set in last August’s debt limit deal, and it raises taxes by $2.6 trillion.
So Conrad was abruptly forced to pull his budget from consideration. “This is the wrong time to vote in committee; this is the wrong time to vote on the floor,” he told reporters late yesterday afternoon. Budget Committee Ranking Member Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., responded: “Chairman Conrad’s stunning announcement, forced on him by his party, is a defining moment in 2012 and a national embarrassment for a Senate majority that is unable to meet the great challenge of our time. It’s been 1,084 days since the last time the Senate’s Democrat majority passed a budget plan, despite a simple majority threshold for passage.”
National Polls: Gallup’s daily tracking poll now has Romney up 48 percent to 43 percent. A New York Times/CBS News poll released this morning has the race tied at 46. Obama campaign manager David Axelrod is attacking the Gallup poll.
Veepstakes: A new PPP poll shows that adding Sen. Marco Rubio’s, R-Fla., name to a Romney ticket adds two points to Obama’s lead in the state. Without Rubio, PPP has Obama up 50 to 45 percent; with Rubio, Obama is up 50 to 43.
Around the Bigs
CNN, First Solar to cut 2,000 jobs: First Solar, another recipient of Obama stimulus tax dollars, announced on Tuesday that it will cut 2,000 jobs in the U.S. and Europe.
The Washington Post, $4 gas reinforces trend toward lower U.S. fuel consumption: As prices have neared and in some cases topped $4 a gallon, drivers have cut their consumption of gasoline to its lowest levels in a decade, driving less and buying cars that are more fuel-efficient. As a result, the rising price of gas has slowed.
The New York Times, Studies Question the Pairing of Food Deserts and Obesity: Contradicting First Lady Michelle Obama’s signature public policy initiative, two new studies show that poor urban neighborhoods not only have more fast food restaurants and convenience stores than more affluent ones, but more grocery stores, supermarkets and full-service restaurants, too.
The Los Angeles Times, GSA executive traveled lavishly after warnings: The main figure in a General Services Administration spending scandal, executive Jeff Neely, took trips to Hawaii, Napa Valley and the South Pacific, all after the agency’s inspector general warned top officials about his excesses.
Jim Treacher notes that Obama admitted in Dreams of My Father that he ate dog as a kid in Indonesia.
RealClearPolitics has video of Jay Leno from Monday night: “President Obama released his tax returns. It turns out he made $900,000 less in 2011 than he did in 2010. You know what that means? Even Obama is doing worse under President Obama.”
At The Corner, Nathaniel Botwinick flags a New England Journal of Medicine article detailing how Obamacare regulations will hurt patient care.
Atrios has named Tom Friedman his One True Wanker of the Decade.
Jared Bernstein identifies five principles for liberal tax fairness.
ThinkProgress makes a big deal out of the fact that Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach still has no formal role with the Romney campaign.