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Morning Examiner: White House surrenders to Republican debt limit demands

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Conn Carroll

Today, the House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on bill that would allow the federal government to borrow enough money to pay its bills through May 18th, but then suspend all Congressional pay starting May 19th, until each House of Congress passes a budget. The budget provision is designed to force Senate Democrats, particularly those up for reelection in 2014 in states carried by Mitt Romney, to take votes putting them on record in favor of higher taxes to pay for President Obama’s spending proposals.

Up until yesterday, Obama had been insisting on a clean debt limit hike, but Tuesday his Office of Management and Budget released a statement saying they would not veto the House bill. “Although H.R. 325 is a short-term measure and introduces unnecessary complications, needlessly perpetuating uncertainty in the Nation’s fiscal system,” the OMB statement said, “the Administration is encouraged that H.R. 325 lifts the immediate threat of default and indicates that congressional Republicans have backed off an insistence on holding the Nation’s economy hostage to extract drastic cuts in Medicare, education, and other programs that middle-class families depend on.”

Obama’s debt limit concession creates a major headache for Senate Democrats who now must either force their most vulnerable members to vote for tax hikes, or take the blame for a catastrophic failure to pay the federal government’s bills. Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., refused to say how he would proceed yesterday, instead deflecting all questions to incoming-Senate Budget Committee Chair Patty Murray, D-Wash.

Getting House conservatives to sign on to the debt limit bill, dubbed #nobudgetnopay by Republican House Leadership, was no easy task. Republican leaders have promised conservatives they will both allow the almost $1 trillion in sequester spending cuts to occur on schedule and get the next House budget to balance in 10 years.

From The Washington Examiner
Examiner Editorial: Obama still chasing ‘green jobs
Brian Hughes: Obama’s path on climate change runs through EPA
Phil Klein: Obama unlikely to pass major legislation in second term
Tim Carney: If you want bigger government, you need to side with big business
Michael Barone: Obama’s address long on audacity, short on hope

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Reuters, State Department delays Keystone pipeline decision: The Obama administration has delayed a decision on TransCanada Corp’s rerouted Keystone XL oil pipeline until after March, even though Nebraska’s governor on Tuesday approved a plan for part of the line running through his state.
The Wall Street Journal, U.K.’s Cameron Pledges Vote on EU: U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron Wednesday pledged to hold a referendum on whether the country should remain a member of the European Union within 2½ years of the next general election, which is due in 2015.
The New York Times, Tepid Vote for Netanyahu in Israel Is Seen as Rebuke: A weakened Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu emerged Wednesday from Israel’s national election likely to serve a third term after voters on Tuesday gave a surprising second place to a new centrist party founded by a television celebrity who emphasized kitchen-table issues like class size and apartment prices.
The Washington Post, Sting operations reveal Mafia involvement in renewable energy: In an unfolding plot that is part “The Sopranos,” part “An Inconvenient Truth,” authorities swept across Sicily last month in the latest wave of sting operations revealing years of deep infiltration into the renewable energy sector by Italy’s rapidly modernizing crime families.
Bloomberg, Ex-Senator Nelson to Run Insurer Watchdog Group: The National Association of Insurance Commissioners named ex-Democratic Senator Ben Nelson to be its chief executive officer as the regulators’ group tackles U.S. President Barack Obama’s health-care overhaul.

Lefty Playbook
Harold Meyerson says the Obama Majority is here to stay.
Greg Sargent reports that Red state Dems are squeamish about gun background checks
William Galston urges Democrats to side with big corporations over small businesses.

Righty Playbook
Yuval Levin on Obama’s Second Inaugural.
Matt Welch on Obama’s Warmed-Over Collectivism
Hans von Spakovsky on the Department of Justice Civil Rights lawyer who led jeers of Paul Ryan at Obama’s Inauguration.

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