House Republicans have warped values


The budget is a blueprint of our nation’s values. Based on their proposal, the House Republicans have warped values.

The Ryan budget sums it up: destroy Medicare and leave seniors and people with disabilities to fend for themselves. They’d give huge tax cuts to billionaires and corporations while slashing the most basic services our fellow Americans rely upon.

President Obama said it exactly right yesterday: The Republican vision is dead wrong, and it’s not going to happen as long as he’s president – and as long as Democrats hold the Senate. Here’s where your help is urgently needed.

The DSCC has an FEC deadline on April 30, and we need to raise $245,000 to ensure we can maintain our majority. If the GOP had just 4 more seats, the Ryan budget would sail through Congress. It’s imperative that we stop them.

Help stop the radical Republicans with an immediate gift of $5 or more to the DSCC. More than 90 percent of our donations come from grassroots supporters. We CAN stop them, but not without your help!

President Obama outlined the stakes. In the past decade, the average income of 90% of working Americans dropped. On average, the top 1% are making an extra quarter million each. Yet Republicans demand tax cuts for them. Republicans would slash education, clean energy investments, and even the health care our parents rely on in order to shift more wealth to the extremely wealthy and corporations.

It’s not hard to see why. The Citizens United decision means that these same corporations can turn around and spend an unlimited amount in support of candidates. You can be sure that Republicans would be handsomely rewarded for the tax cut largesse.

If President Obama’s 2008 campaign taught us anything, however, it’s this: A million small voices aren’t so small when they speak out in unison. When we stand together – and invest in the beliefs we share – we can make a difference. We have, and we will.

Your gift of $5 or more right now will make a difference. Every dollar you give helps stop the radical Republican agenda and protect our Senate majority. We can stop them, but only if we work together.

Democrats have a vision – and it’s a vision entirely different than the bleak future Republicans have put forward. If you believe in our vision, I’m asking you to back it up. Let’s stand together and fight.

Sincerely,

Guy Cecil

Budget:A Better Path To Prosperity


As the nation edges closer to hitting the debt ceiling, President Obama delivered at George Washington University yesterday a new plan to reduce the deficit by $4.4 trillion over the next 12 years — a rebuttal to the GOP’s “Path to Prosperity” plan sponsored by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI). Matching targeted spending cuts with less drastic entitlement reform and a more realistic tax policy, Obama’s plan, as Center for American Progress notes, “puts us on a much more sustainable path, and most importantly, would do so without putting further burdens on seniors and an already-struggling middle class.” While a big step away from his 2012 budget, Obama’s plan stands in stark contrast to Ryan’s “draconian” vision that gouges out the budget at their expense. Trading cuts and reforms that overly burden vulnerable populations for tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy, Ryan’s budget earned rebuke even from conservative economists. Former President Ronald Reagan’s budget director called it “a measure of how far off the deep end Republicans have gone.” Obama did not mince words when drawing the contrast between the GOP vision and his “compassionate” alternative. In response, House Republicans elected to decry what they saw as the president’s political, unfriendly treatment rather than offer the merits of their policy. Hearkening back to the 1995 government shutdown, Republicans are now hinting that Obama’s strong words might be enough to derail budget negotiations — no matter how valid the proposal.

OBAMA’S VISION: Rather than relying exclusively on deep spending cuts, President Obama’s deficit plan offers a framework to more responsibly reduce the deficit over the next 12 years through a multi-pronged approach. To achieve the $4 trillion in deficit reductions, Obama called for $2 trillion in spending cuts while maintaining “investments” in “schools, highways, bridges and research” that help maintain global competitiveness. However, aware of the ballooning defense budget, Obama also called to cut $400 billion from national security over 10 years — a move the GOP has specifically avoided. On entitlement programs, Obama asked both parties to “work together now to strengthen Social Security” and proposed saving $340 billion on Medicare and Medicaid by 2021 through increasing efficiency. “We will reduce wasteful subsidies and erroneous payments” and “cut spending on prescription drugs by using Medicare’s purchasing power to drive greater efficiency,” he said. In stark contrast to Ryan’s Medicare voucher plan, Obama’s Medicare plan builds on the cost containment reforms in the health care reform law by expanding IPAB, a 15-person commission tasked with advising Congress on how to reduce excess growth in Medicare if costs exceed GDP per capita plus one percent but will do so without rationing care or raising premiums or cost sharing. Obama’s clearest policy declaration, however, centered on his rebuke of the Bush-era tax cuts. “We cannot afford one trillion dollars in tax cuts for every millionaire and billionaire in our society. We can’t afford it. And I refuse to renew then again,” he said. Opting to move towards his fiscal commission’s policies, Obama plans to allow those tax cuts to expire at the end of 2012 and would raise an additional $1 trillion by overhauling the tax code to lower rates and eliminate tax breaks. And should all these deficit reduction efforts miss their targets, Obama called for a fail-safe “trigger mechanism ” that would force “across-the-board spending reductions if the ratio of debt-to-GDP is not stabilized by 2014 and projected to decline for the rest of the decade.” While Obama’s plan does propose significant cuts and misses opportunities to add additional revenues and find secure additional savings in the Pentagon budget, it provides a more “balanced” deficit plan than offered by the GOP. In response, U.S. bonds and the dollar rose based on hopes that Obama’s plan would “shore up the United States’ credit-worthiness and the dollar’s reserve status.” Oil recovered by 1.5 percent.

RYAN’S ‘PESSIMISTIC’ PLAN: A driving factor behind Obama’s plan was to provide a “compassionate” alternative to slash-and-burn Republican proposal offered last week. “This debate over budgets and deficits is about more than just numbers on a page,” Obama said. “It’s about the kind of future we want.” Dubbing Ryan’s plan as a “pessimistic” vision that “is less about reducing the deficit than it is about changing the basic social compact in America,” Obama blasted Republicans for implementing cuts that allow our infrastructure to “crumble” and “collapse” and, by slashing billions from Pell Grants, for telling “bright young Americans” that “we can’t afford” to support their education. He then lambasted Ryan’s Medicare voucher program for “end[ing] Medicare as we know it.” “Instead of guaranteed health care, you will get a voucher. And if that voucher isn’t worth enough to buy insurance, tough luck — you’re on your own,” he said. Indeed, according to the non-partisan CBO, seniors will end up paying significantly more for their health benefits if House Republicans have their way. He viewed the GOP’s plan to rob Medicaid of $771 billion over the next decade by turning it into a block grant program as a vision that tells 50 million Americans, including “poor children,” “middle-class families” with disabled children, and low-income seniors “to fend for themselves.” But “worst of all,” he said, was the Republican vision increase the burden on the vulnerable just so a corporate tax rate can be ten points lower and so we can “afford more than $1 trillion in new tax breaks for the wealthy.” Criticizing the tax break he’d receive while asking seniors to pay “$6,400” more in health costs, Obama said “that’s not right, and it’s not going to happen as long as I’m President.”

POLITICS OF WHINING: Invited to the address, House Republicans bristled under Obama’s rebuke and quickly rejected his plan as a “political broadside from the campaigner-in-chief.” Almost completely ignoring his policies, House Republicans took their turn at the podium to lambast the president for engaging in “partisan rhetoric .” House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) insisted that Obama’s plan was “light on the specifics” but “didn’t lack shameless political attacks and scare tactics.” Ryan claimed Obama’s “demagoguery” was “exploiting people’s emotions of fear, envy, and anxiety.” Indeed, Ryan gave a detailed account of his hurt feelings, tracing them from “excited” to “naively optimistic” to “disappointed” then to “sad,” and hinted that Obama’s rebuke “sure doesn’t help” Republicans forge a budget consensus. Now “sincerely disappointed” at Obama’s “partisan broadsides against us,” Ryan is also suggesting that his hurt feelings will make it “that much harder for the two parties to come together with mutual respect of one another to get things done.” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), however, did offer House Republicans’ sole policy response: “We, as a conference, won’t raise taxes” on the wealthy.

Watch Al Gore speak live


Tomorrow, thousands of young leaders will gather here in Washington to help solve the climate crisis: the greatest challenge the world has ever faced. At the Power Shift 2011 Conference, they’ll learn how to build the clean energy future that is essential to our planet’s survival.

Al Gore will deliver the keynote address Friday night. He will discuss the overwhelming evidence of climate change and show attendees how we can bring clean, renewable energy to America and the world.

It will be a must-see event — and you don’t have to miss out. Former Vice President Gore‘s speech will be streamed live on the Power Shift website:

http://www.powershift2011.org/live

Tomorrow, April 15, at 7:05 p.m. ET, click that link to watch the speech streamed live.

Planning to watch the livestream event? Click here to let us know!

The Power Shift Conference is an opportunity to empower the next generation of America’s leaders to change the way we think about energy. It’s so important that we are bringing 20 of Repower America‘s best young activists from around the country to Washington so they’ll have the chance to participate. Young leaders will be trained to go back to their communities and help take the next step in the movement to solve the climate crisis.

We believe Vice President Gore’s speech will be the highlight of this important event, and we hope that you’ll have the opportunity to watch.

Click here to let us know you’re planning to watch.

Thank you for all your help,

Maggie L. Fox

President and CEO

Alliance for Climate Protection

The view from outside Washington


The President’s speech today began a new conversation in Washington about how to reduce the deficit while protecting crucial investments in our country’s future.

But as we seek to build an organization based outside of Washington, President Obama’s speech also provides an unusually stark contrast — one all of us can use to start conversations with our friends and neighbors about what’s at stake in this election.

He spoke about things you don’t generally hear in Washington conversations too often dominated by special interests: He’ll cut waste and excess at the Pentagon — particularly spending that is requested not by our military, but by politicians and corporate interests.

He’ll eliminate tax cuts for Americans in the highest tax brackets who don’t need them, including himself — and he will reform the individual tax code so that it’s fair and simple and so that the amount of taxes you pay isn’t determined by what kind of accountant you can afford.

Some cuts he proposed are tough. But they’re also smart and surgical — helping us balance our books while still doing the right things to win the future. President Obama’s plan would protect the middle class, invest in our kids’ education, and make sure we don’t protect the wealthiest Americans from the costs of reform at the expense of the most vulnerable.

The other side has presented a very clear alternative: End Medicare as we know it, privatizing the program that millions of seniors rely on for health care. Make deep cuts to education. Slash investments in clean energy and infrastructure. All to pay for tax cuts for people making over $250,000 a year, and all while actually raising our national debt.

In short, their plan will please a special interest donor base and those who put ideology before results rather than reduce deficits over the long term. And let’s be clear: They think they can get away with it because, fundamentally, they don’t think you’ll do anything about it.

That’s where I know we can prove them wrong. Because we can respond right now by building an organization that will stop them — not just in this deficit battle, but in the next election so they never have the chance to enact these proposals.

Here’s the first step. Join our fight for a deficit reduction plan that will actually reduce the deficit — with a goal of shared prosperity through shared responsibility. Add your name to support President Obama’s plan — and then help bring more people into the conversation:

www.barackobama.com