White House sequestration summit flops | Boehner pledges bill to avert shutdown | This week's poll results: Blame it on Obama
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March 1, 2013
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National Pulse
White House sequestration summit flops
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The sequestration will happen as scheduled. President Barack Obama and congressional leaders held an eleventh-hour meeting today in an effort to forestall the automatic budget cuts scheduled to go into effect at midnight, but the summit failed to produce a deal. Republicans are holding to their line against any tax increases beyond those approved Jan. 1, while the White House wants a combination of budget cuts and revenue increases to address the budget deficit. Tonight's deadline means $85 billion in across-the-board cuts will take effect in discretionary programs, including defense, homeland security and food safety. The Wall Street Journal (3/1), Reuters (3/1), FoxNews.com (3/1)
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Boehner pledges bill to avert shutdown
House Speaker John Boehner, after today's budget summit at the White House, stood firm on his position that he will support no additional tax increases and that the Senate must act first on the budget. However, Boehner indicated that the House will vote on a continuing resolution next week to make sure there is no government shutdown when the current appropriation expires March 27. The Washington Post (3/1)
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Reader Polls
This week's poll results: Blame it on Obama
Readers responding to this week's poll place the blame for the budget crisis firmly on the doorstep of the White House. Nearly 69% of the votes attribute responsibility for the sequestration fully on the president or the president and Congress together. By the same measurement, 62% percent say Congress deserves at least partial blame. Of those who wrote in, one respondent said those in office and top federal staff should see drastic cuts in their salaries and staffing until this crisis is solved. Another wrote in to say responsibility lies not just with current officeholders, but also falls on past elected officials who allowed the federal deficit and debt to build to this crisis point. Several others, though, said the real blame falls on the voters, who have demanded more from government while refusing to pay the taxes needed to support it, calling to mind the line from the old "Pogo" comic strip: "We have met the enemy and he is us." Next week: Deal or no deal?
President Barack Obama  37.22%
All of the above  31.50%
Congressional Republicans  18.76%
Congress as a whole  10.08%
Congressional Democrats  1.59%
None of the above/other  0.85%
Agenda Items
Administration asks SCOTUS to strike down California's same-sex marriage ban
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The Obama administration has filed an amicus brief asking the Supreme Court to strike down California's ban on same-sex marriage -- but stopped short of asking justices to abolish all state-level bans. Some 30 states have legislation banning same-sex marriage, but the administration, in a brief personally approved by the president, asked the court to focus on the "particular circumstances presented by California law." National Public Radio (3/1), BBC (3/1), Omaha World-Herald (Neb.)/McClatchy Newspapers (3/1)
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Data Points
Government revenues are sky high -- or are they?
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House Speaker John Boehner says federal government revenues are at a record high -- but while that's true in nominal dollars, it's not the case using the percentage-of-GDP measure preferred by economists. This year's revenues will amount to 16.9% of GDP, according to the Congressional Budget Office, somewhat lower than the post-World War II average. FactCheck.org (2/28)
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The Conversation
Daily Diversion
It's "Roadrunner" vs. "Dream On" in Mass.
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Efforts to have "Roadrunner," the Modern Lovers' punk classic, declared the state song of Massachusetts appear to have hit a roadblock: Lawmakers say they prefer the classic-rock stylings of Aerosmith. Modern Lovers frontman Jonathan Richman says he'll understand if the Bay State snubs his song. "I don't think the song is good enough to be a Massachusetts song of any kind," he says. The Guardian (London) (2/27)
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In America, public opinion is the leader."
-- Frances Perkins, former U.S. Secretary of Labor and politician
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