Good morning folks,
As budget week begins on Capitol Hill, we've found the one instance where Democrats won't proclaim to support a "balanced approach."
Reuters reports, that the Senate Democrat "budget is not expected to achieve balance as Ryan's does." Far from it. Instead, the first Democratic budget proposed in more than 1400 days will..... Wait for it.... Drumroll... Balance the budget? Nope. As the Washington Post reports, It will try to ensure that the "size of the debt SHOULD stop growing as a percentage of the overall economy." (And that's with their assumption that the economy shifts from, "meh" to "ROARING").
The DSCC (no doubt a tad rusty after not having to defend a budget since before the invention of the iPad), held a budget conference call with reporters yesterday, the only news coming out of which was that they are having serious heartburn about Ashley Judd. Ooof.
And when DSCC Executive Director Guy Cecil was asked how vulnerable red state Democrats will defend a budget that raises taxes, increases spending, and fails to stabilize Medicare, he simply had no answer. That's right, Mary Landrieu, Mark Begich, Kay Hagan, Mark Pryor, Max Baucus and Tim Johnson - according to National Journal, the DSCC says you are on your own. "The executive director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee said Monday that he will not advise vulnerable incumbents how to vote on the Senate Democrats' upcoming budget proposal, saying the politically consequential decisions will be left to individual members."
National Journal notes that "Cecil's comment amounts to a tacit admission that the Senate Democrats' spending plan, which is expected to call for higher taxes on the rich and increased spending on transportation infrastructure, carries its own risk, particularly for a sextet of red state incumbents up for reelection next year. The danger for the six senators -- Tim Johnson of South Dakota, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Max Baucus of Montana, and Mark Begich of Alaska -- is supporting a budget that, unlike the GOP proposal, doesn't balance in the long run."
Ouch. Tough conference call. Here's what we had to say.
Seize the day,
2014 BATTLEGROUND SONAR
(MICHIGAN): Via Morning Score - NRSC Mindmeld: “Senate Democrats have an expensive problem in Michigan and a weak bench with which to solve it. Instead of Senator Carl Levin snoozing his way to re-election, Democrats now face a costly open-seat battle, in a state that consistently elects Republicans statewide in non-Presidential years. Valuable dollars and resources that were to be spent defending Kay Hagan, Mark Pryor and Mary Landrieu will now be drained by Michigan. Our nominee will share the ticket with an incumbent Republican Governor, Lt. Governor, Secretary of State and Attorney General, along with strong Republican majorities in both legislative chambers and a majority in the Congressional delegation. As if those Democratic skies weren't already cloudy enough, now consider that Republican donors in Michigan out raised or kept pace with the Democrats and the Obama campaign in every quarter throughout 2012. Two words: Don Riegle. We saw this movie in 1994, when Senator Riegle's seat opened in a non-Presidential year and the Republican won decisively.”
(KENTUCKY): Democrats Having 2nd Thoughts on Ashley Judd
DSCC Turns Back on Judd: Guy Cecil, described the actress Monday as one in “a handful of quality candidates in Kentucky” He would not directly deny a report in the Louisville Eccentric Observer that his committee is reevaluating Judd and giving a second look at Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes after a poll conducted for the DSCC found her outperforming Judd against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Ashley Judd Is Making Kentucky Democrats Nervous: At a time when Democrats in Washington are having second thoughts about embracing Ashley Judd as their standard bearer against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in 2014, Kentucky Democrats are waving red flags about the actress, arguing her candidacy plays into the GOP’s strengths and tarnishes the party brand in the Bluegrass State. “She’s gonna have a tough row to hoe,” said Jim Cauley, who ran Gov. Steve Beshear’s 2007 campaign and also worked on President Barack Obama’s 2004 Senate campaign. “She doesn't fit the damn state. That's her problem. I don't think she fits
the voters of the state of Kentucky.” ...“Electing Ashley Judd gets a Republican legislature elected. That's what I see at stake here. Your perspective is different if you're in New York or Los Angeles. They don't live here. We do. Judd's candidacy makes it seamlessly easy to Obama-ize this election,” one Kentucky Democratic strategist said.
VIDEO: Chuck Todd: Democrats "Panicked" About Ashley Judd
The NRSC says... their "first priority" is the "protection and retention of Republican Senators," but spokesman Brad Dayspring also pointed out the many issues Republicans will pounce on if Judd does take on the senate minority leader.
"It's unclear whether or not the Democrats will have a candidate at this point," Dayspring said in a statement to ABC News. "It's difficult to envision how a fading Hollywood star, who currently lives in Tennessee, believes that having children is 'unconscionable,' and that coal is 'unacceptable,' would be able to relate to folks in Kentucky, so it's no surprise the DSCC is having second (if not third) thought. If Ms. Judd choosesto run, as gossip out of Los Angeles suggests, Kentuckians will want to hear a more in-depth explain of these bizarre views ... after she moves to the state, of course," he said.
(MASSACHUSETTS): Eliot Spitzer Co-Hosting Fundraiser For Ed Markey: Kirsten Hughes, chairman of Mass GOP, said that it's "disgusting" that Markey would "rub elbows" with Spitzer, who resigned in 2008 amid a prostitution scandal. “You are judged by the company you keep and it’s disgusting for Congressman Markey to rub elbows with a man best known for his solicitation of prostitutes,” said Kirsten Hughes, MassGOP Chairman.“Instead of lining his campaign coffers with donations from the disgraced Eliot Spitzer, Markey should immediately cancel the fundraiser and denounce Spitzer’s abhorrent and unacceptable behavior. Anything short of a public condemnation and cancellation would send the wrong message to women everywhere.”
- Editorial Note: Yikes. Apparently the fundraiser is not in Room 871.
(SOUTH DAKOTA) Nepotism Causes Democrat Heartburn: “Given their history, it pains some Democrats today to see the offspring of Lars Herseth and Tim Johnson engaged in a stare down over the probable retirement of Tim Johnson. Democrats have two top-shelf candidates in Brendan Johnson and Herseth Sandlin, and to see one of them squandered in a Senate primary would be, as one observer said, ‘a waste of gold.’”
ON THE TWITTERS
@mlcalderone - Politico Pro launching quarterly magazine, with first edition out March 22.
@katherinemiller - They're talking about Jesus Christ on Morning Joe and Bobby Knight is on Bloomberg, so who knows.
Debt Soared $5.5 Trillion Since Last Senate Budget: The U.S. added $226 billion in new debt in just the 35 days since President Obama missed the legal deadline to submit his budget... ..more than the government will spend this year on education, homeland security, law enforcement, housing aid, energy and the environment, combined. ...Senate Democrats, meanwhile, haven't produced an annual budget — also required by law — since 2009. Over that time, the nation's debt has climbed $5.5 trillion, according to the Treasury Department.
DATA NUGGET FROM PEW: Fewer Americans have a favorable view of the federal government, with the biggest decline last year coming among Democrats.
Congressional Black Caucus leader concerned Obama has named no blacks to new Cabinet: The chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus said she is concerned that President Obama has not yet appointed African-Americans to his second-term Cabinet. Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) said Obama's appointees do not reflect the nation's diverse population — at least, so far. “I am concerned that you have moved forward with new cabinet appointments and yet, to date, none of them have been African American,” her letter to Obama states. “You have publicly expressed your commitment to retaining diversity within your cabinet. However, the people you have chosen to appoint in this new term have hardly been reflective of this country’s diversity.”
Government Advertises for Nearly 2,600 New Jobs Since Sequestration: A search tonight of the USA Jobs federal employment website, filtered to positions in the United States and posted over the past 10 days, yielded 2,596 results. This includes 107 positions at the Department of Homeland Security, which has claimed cutbacks have resulted in everything from a more taxing security line at airports to the need to free illegal immigrant detainees. ...And while the White House warned of hundreds of furloughed federal prosecutors and a thousand fewer criminal cases being brought to court each year, the Justice Department has 46 new job postings including a public affairs specialist for the U.S. Attorneys, a law librarian, a
trial attorney, and a deputy chief for the civil rights division.