Category Archives: Sunday Shows

Conrad, Coburn Sense Urgency in Deficit Talks

The Democratic chairman “of the Senate Budget Committee says if members of President Barack Obama’s deficit panel fail to come to grips soon with the deficit problem, ‘we won’t be relevant to this discussion,’” the AP reports.

But North Dakota’s Kent Conrad declined in an appearance on NBC’s "Meet the Press" to say specifically where the six Democrats and Republicans stand in discussions on various debt-reduction strategies.

Appearing on the same show Sunday, Oklahoma Republican Sen. Jim Coburn said, "The country can’t afford for us not to have an agreement."

Neither Conrad nor Coburn would get into specifics about the panel’s discussions. Coburn did repeat his general opposition to tax increases. Conrad said he believes the American people would support tax reform as one way toward deficit reduction.

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Graham Wants Military Action on Gadhafi Assets in Tripoli

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) “has a recommendation to NATO and the Obama administration when it comes to their involvement in Libya: bomb Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s inner circle and remove him from power,” CNN reports.

"Go to Tripoli, start bombing Gadhafi’s inner circle, their compounds, their military headquarters in Tripoli," Graham said Sunday on CNN’s "State of the Union." "I think the focus should now be to cut the head of the snake off. That’s the quickest way to end this."

Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, was an early proponent of a no-fly zone in Libya and has consistently said troops should attack Gadhafi while arming anti-Gadhafi rebels.

[…]

Although the United Nations resolution that authorized force in the African country did not sanction removing Gadhafi from power, and instead called for coalition forces to protect the Libyan people, Graham said the only way to make the operation successful is to "put pressure on Tripoli."

"I would not let the U.N. mandate stop what is the right thing to do," Graham told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley. "You cannot protect the Libyan people if Gadhafi stays. You cannot protect our vital national security interests if Gadhafi stays."

National Journal has Senator John McCain’s (R-AZ) reaction:

But when asked about Graham’s calls to bomb Tripoli, McCain hesitated. “We have tried those things in the past with other dictators and it’s a little harder than you think it is. Qaddafi is a great survivor, we don’t know exactly where he is, we do have to worry about civilian causalities that could turn the Libyan people against us,” he said. “I certainly think we ought to make Qaddafi aware that his very life is in danger, but I think we just have to be a little careful how we do that.”

While he praised Graham, McCain made it clear he had different ideas about how to approach the situation in Libya. “We can’t count on taking Qaddafi out. What we can count on is a trained, equipped, well-supported liberation forces which can either force Qaddafi out or obtain victory and send him to an international court,” he said. “My emphasis is on winning the battle on the ground, not taking the chance on taking him out with a lucky airstrike.”

And Senator Joe Lieberman (ID-CT):

But when asked about Graham’s idea to bomb Tripoli, Lieberman waffled. “As John McCain said earlier, it’s not easy to do that,” he said. But just minutes later, Lieberman reversed himself. “NATO has got to start thinking about whether they want to more directly start targeting Qaddafi and his family,” he said.

McCain is Ranking Member on the Senate Armed Services Committee. Lieberman is a senior member of the committee.

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Senate Sunday Lineup: April 23

Here’s a list of Senators hitting the Sunday talk show circuit tomorrow:

  • Face the Nation (CBS) – Mark Kirk (R-IL), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Chris Coons (D-DE)
  • State of the Union (CNN) – Joe Lieberman (ID-CT), Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
  • Fox News Sunday – None
  • Meet the Press (NBC) – Tom Coburn (R-OK), John McCain (R-AZ) and Kent Conrad (D-ND)
  • This Week (ABC) – None

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Coburn, Warner Confident Deficit Reduction Plan Will be Disliked

Two Senators said today their deficit reduction plan “will tick off a lot of people,” Fox News reports.

Two members of the so-called "gang of six" — a bipartisan group of senators working to craft a long-term spending plan — said Sunday they’re making progress on their proposal, despite concerns expressed last week that the talks could be in trouble.

And, in claiming the plan would take a balanced approach, they predicted Republicans and Democrats alike would despise it.

"Let me assure you, we’re going to make everybody mad," Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., said.

Tom Coburn (R-OK):

"Nobody is going to like what we come up with," Coburn told "Fox News Sunday." "The left isn’t going to like it and the right isn’t going to like it. And that’s one thing that would be an indicator that is probably the best compromise we’re going to be able to get."

Some things being considered in the proposal:

Coburn did not elaborate on the details of the plan, but Warner offered a few glimpses.

In an interview with CBS’ "Face the Nation," he said "everything has to be on the table."

Warner said the group was working off the proposal from the president’s fiscal commission and would be "touching every part of the problem," including Social Security — something largely excluded from both Ryan’s proposal and Obama’s.

"Part of this is just math — 16 workers for every one retiree 50 years ago, three workers for every retiree now," Warner said.

He also said the tax code needs to be addressed, not necessarily through tax increases but by eliminating deductions. He said the group is looking to impose about $3 in cuts for every $1 in increased revenue.

"Charitable deduction, home mortgage deduction — if we would cut back on some of those, we could actually lower rates and still increase revenues," he said. Warner said the group is "very close" to a deal.

Timing:

The "gang of six" is not expected to have a report until after the two-week spring recess that starts Monday. The other members on that panel are Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Ill.; Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga.; Kent Conrad, D-N.D.; and Michael Crapo, R-Idaho. Conrad threatened last week that if the group doesn’t come up with something soon, he might propose his own budget plan.

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Geithner Confident in Debt Limit Increase

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner “says Republican leaders have privately assured the Obama administration that Congress will raise the government’s borrowing limit in time to prevent an unprecedented default on the nation’s debt,” the AP reports.

But a top Republican quickly pushed back Sunday and said there was no guarantee the GOP would agree to increase the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling without further controls on federal spending.

Geithner told ABC’s “This Week” and NBC’s “Meet the Press” that Republicans told President Barack Obama in a White House meeting last Wednesday that they will go along with a higher limit.

“I want to make it perfectly clear that Congress will raise the debt ceiling,” Geithner said in the interviews taped Saturday and aired Sunday.

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Senate Sunday Lineup: April 16

Here’s a list of Senators hitting the Sunday talk show circuit tomorrow:

  • Face the Nation (CBS) – Mark Warner (D-VA)
  • State of the Union (CNN) – Rand Paul (R-KY)
  • Fox News Sunday – Tom Coburn (R-OK)
  • Meet the Press (NBC) – Mike Lee (R-UT)
  • This Week (ABC) – None

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Durbin Wants to Protect ‘Essential’ Programs from Cuts

Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) “said Sunday that critics of this weekend’s budget deal have to face up to the reality of the situation,” according to The Hill.

"I would say to the folks on the right, as well as my friends on the left, there is a budget reality facing both political parties," Durbin said on CNN’s "State of the Union." "We need to dramatically reduce the deficit that we are facing."

But Durbin warned that his party would not let spending cuts go too far.

"What we’re trying to do as Democrats is to make sure that we don’t go too far, and so we fought to make sure that we protected early childhood education, Pell grants for kids from low-income families who want to go to college, medical research grants," Durbin said. "These are the things which were essential and at the end of the day we won the battle."

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