POLITICS

Morning Examiner: The Senate Sequester Farce

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Conn Carroll

As promised, Senate Democrats released an outline of their sequester replacement bill yesterday, all but guaranteeing the sequester will begin on schedule this March 1st.

The Senate sequester bill prevents all $85 billion of this year’s scheduled spending cuts and pays for it with $55 billion in tax hikes, $27.5 billion in cuts to agriculture subsidies, and $27.5 billion in cuts to defense spending. None of the spending cuts or tax hikes are written to take effect until 2014, when the economy is supposedly finally supposed to start growing again.

The lion’s share of the tax hikes, $54 billion of the $55 billion, comes from the so-called “Buffett Rule,” which would create a new 30 percent minimum tax rate on incomes over $1 million. The other billion comes higher taxes on oil companies and American companies that earn profits overseas.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, was immediately dismissive of the Democrat effort. “When the Senate passes a plan, I’ll be happy to take a look at it,” Boehner told The Daily Caller. “Until they pass a plan, there’s no reason for me to comment on what they’re gonna do or not do.”

Both the Senate and House are out of town next week for President’s Day. That leaves just one week for the Senate to pass the Democrat bill before the sequester begins to kick in. Don’t hold your breath.

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Phil Klein: Senate blocks Chuck Hagel nomination — for now

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The Wall Street Journal, U.S. Grant Funded Workers’ Play at LG Chem Factory: The Obama administration’s electric car efforts took another hit on Wednesday after a federal inspection found a South Korean advanced battery maker never scaled up U.S. production despite receiving $142 million in federal grants.
The New York TimesLautenberg, Oldest Member of Senate, Won’t Run Again: Facing a fight for his seat from within his own party, Senator Frank R. Lautenberg of New Jersey said Thursday that he will retire rather than seek a sixth term next year.

Lefty Playbook
Fred Kaplan says the Hagel vote means Republicans can never be trusted on national security again.
Steve Kornacki says the blocking of Hagel is completely unprecedented.
Sahil Kapur lists Four Ways Obamacare Could Still Fail.

Righty Playbook
Landon Zinda says blocking Hagel is completely precedented.
Ed Pinto on How the FHA helped cause the housing bubble.
Robert Zubrin outlines a Growth Agenda.

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