“The power under the constitution will always be in the people. It is entrusted for certain defined purposes, and for a certain limited period, to representatives of their own choosing; and whenever it is executed contrary to their interest, or not agreeable to their wishes, their servants can and undoubtedly will, be recalled.”

~ George Washington (1787)

Friday, March 1, 2013

POPVOX Daily Digest - February 28, 2013

The House and Senate finished their work for the week without getting anywhere on a bill to replace the $85 billion in spending cuts due to hit on Friday, otherwise known as the Sequester.

On Thursday, the Senate voted on two possible proposals, but each failed as expected and were seen mostly as another chance for Senators to make their positions clear.

The Democratic proposal would have reduced the amount of spending cuts required by the Sequester by $55 billion and raised taxes by $55 billion -- phasing in a 30 percent effective tax rate on incomes over $1 million and cutting agricultural subsidies and defense by $27.5 billion each. The proposal was rejected 51-49 (60 votes were needed for it to advance).

The Republican proposal would have given the Obama administration more flexibility to implement the cuts, but this plan failed in a 38-62 vote.

President Obama has plans to meet with Congressional leaders on Friday to see if there is any way around the spending cuts. For now, the cuts seem likely to be in effect for some time. There is no word on any pending agreement, given the Republican opposition to new tax hikes, and the insistence of Democrats on new revenues.

Also Thursday, the House passed S. 47, the Senate's bill to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).

House Republicans put forward their own bill that they said was a better balance between the issues of how to let Indian and LGBT victims of domestic violence benefit from the program. But Republicans also allowed members to vote on the Senate bill, as dozens of Republicans preferred that version.

The GOP bill was rejected in a 166-257 vote. Five dozen Republicans voted against the GOP leadership bill.
The Senate version was approved 286-138, and while most Republicans voted against it, 87 supported it.

House passage sends the bill to President Obama, who is expected to sign it into law shortly.