Category Archives: Interviews

McCain Not Supportive of Military Action in Syria

Senator John McCain (R-AZ) “said Monday that he doesn’t think it would be appropriate for the U.S. or NATO to intervene militarily in Syria the way they had in Libya,” according to The Hill.

"I don’t see a scenario right now or anytime in the near future where the injection of U.S. or NATO military action would in any way beneficially help the situation, I’m sorry to say," McCain said on NBC’s "Today" show.

McCain is Ranking Member on the Senate Armed Services Committee.

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On Libya, Collins Says President Should Have Obtained Congressional Approval

Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) on Friday “joined the growing chorus of members of Congress who have condemned President Obama’s decision to enter the conflict in Libya without first seeking congressional approval,” The Hill reports.

"I feel so strongly that the president did not follow the War Powers Act and that he should have come to Congress for approval first," Collins said on "In the Arena" [which is] a program on WCSH 6, a local NBC affiliate in Portland, Maine. "In my mind there is just know doubt about it."

Collins and other members of Congress from both parties contend that the unrest in Libya did not meet the criteria laid out in the War Powers Resolution Act of 1973 that allows the president to go to war without approval of the Congress. That act was a joint congressional resolution that empowers the president to send armed forces into action abroad only with authorization of Congress or if the United States or its interests are under attack.

"If there had been in imminent threat to the United States then the president would have been justified in deploying troops and using force but that was not the situation that we faced," said Collins.

Collins is Ranking Member on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and also serves on the Armed Services Committee.

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Collins Not Supportive of Paul Ryan’s Budget

Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) “said Friday that she will not support the 2012 budget passed by the House last week,” The Hill reports.

"I don’t happen to support Congressman Ryan’s plan but at least he had the courage to put forth a plan to significantly reduce the debt," Collins said on "In the Arena" a program on WCSH 6, a local NBC affiliate in Portland, Maine.

Collins is the first Republican senator to state publicly that she will not support the Ryan budget.

The plan, crafted by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), would cut $5.8 trillion in spending over 10 years and transform Medicare into a sort of voucher system, among other measures, to balance the budget by 2040 without raising taxes.

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Hatch Would Oppose Any Deficit Deal Raising Taxes

Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) “poses a significant obstacle to any bipartisan deficit reduction deal in the Senate that would raise taxes, according to Senate aides and activists,” The Hill reports.

Hatch would have significant say over any deficit-reduction as ranking Republican on the Senate Finance panel, which has jurisdiction over taxes, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

He told conservative activists shortly before the April recess that he would oppose any deficit-reduction package that raises taxes, period.

“He has stressed no tax increases,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, a prominent anti-tax group, speaking of assurances Hatch made at a recent Tax Day event with conservatives. “That’s what he told me when he was at the April 14 press conference. Hatch was there and stressed no tax increases. Period.”

Senate sources say Hatch has taken an equally hard line in discussions within the Senate.

“Hatch has been insistent on no new taxes,” said a Senate aide.

Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK), who is part of the “gang of six” currently working on a deficit reduction proposal, said Thursday that “the group could call for tax increases on some people but that taxes would not be raised by a significant amount.”

“There’s no plan to have a significant tax hike on anyone,” Coburn said on Laura Ingraham’s radio show.

But Coburn has not ruled out tax increases altogether.

“Will some people pay increased taxes? I’m sure they will,” Coburn said.

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Filed under Budget, Interviews, Taxes

Conrad Feels Urgency of Reaching Deficit Deal

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-ND) “worries that he and the other members of a bipartisan group negotiating a deficit reduction plan may have wasted their time, though he doesn’t think they have,” POLITICO reports.

“I certainly hope this leads to a result because otherwise, I’m going to have wasted five years of my life,” the North Dakota Democrat said of the ongoing efforts of the Gang of Six in an interview with ABC News released Thursday.

“I would not have spent hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of hours of my time if I didn’t think there was a realistic prospect” that Congress will be able to work out a plan toward reducing the federal deficit, Conrad said. “If it doesn’t happen this year, it’s not gonna happen next year, so it’s really got to happen now.”

The group — which also includes Democratic Sens. Mark Warner of Virginia and Dick Durbin of Illinois and Republican Sens. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and Mike Crapo of Idaho — has been quietly working for months to formulate a spending plan that would satisfy both parties.

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Filed under Budget, Interviews