Fox News Sunday Snippets: February 20, 2011
Budget battles are being fought both in the nation's capital as well as in state capitals across the U.S. This morning, "Fox News Sunday" covers both. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R) joins us to discuss his battle with the pubic employees union over his proposal to close a $3.6 billion budget gap. Then Senators Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Tom Coburn (R-OK) will give their take on the newly passed House planto cut $61 billion from current spending levels andwhat kind of reception itwill receive in the Senate. Our power player this weekis Holly Petraeus, wife of General David Petraeus. She sitsdown with Chris Wallace to talk about her efforts to support military members and their families.
A look at what we are reading this morning to prepare for the show.
Unions concede on money issues; governor says bargaining must go-Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
The protesters descended on Madison as Walker, through a spokesman, rejected an overture from a Democratic state senator who said public employee unions had agreed to make financial sacrifices contained in the bill in return for the right to bargain collectively. Cullen Werwie, Walker's spokesman, said in a statement that state Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton) "should come to work and debate the bill while doing his job in Madison. "Gov. Walker has repeatedly said that we won't negotiate the budget and we can't balance the budget on a hope and a prayer," Werwie said. "That remains true. State and local government need the flexibility to manage this and future budget crises. In addition, as government workers pay a modest amount toward their pension and health care premium, about half the national average, it is fair to give them the choice of additional savings on their union dues." Walker's office reacted in response to Erpenbach, who said he had been informed that state and local public employee unions had agreed to the financial aspects of the measure.
MPS officials review options if teacher protests continue- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Milwaukee Public Schools administrators prepared to ask volunteers to fill in for missing teachers and reviewed legal options to force teachers back to the classroom, fearing that protests will continue drawing employees to Madison beyond Monday. In a memo sent out late Saturday, officials said Superintendent Gregory Thornton would recommend legal action against the Milwaukee Teachers' Education Association if the staff absences persist next week. The district is scheduled to be closed on Monday for Presidents' Day but reopen Tuesday. Thornton closed the Milwaukee schools on Friday, after roughly 600 teachers called in sick. A union official pegged the number of MPS teachers who traveled to Madison for the Capitol protests at around 1,000. The Madison School District went to court on Friday to force its teachers back to work, but Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi refused to issue an order to end the work stoppage. The parties are due back in court Monday.
Budget battles in Washington and Wisconsin - and soon in other states - provide Republicans with the opportunity to make good on their campaign promises from the last election. Whether Republican leaders can keep the public on their side as they try to implement their tough fiscal agendas will be the most influential question in the next election. Only a partial answer will come from what happens in Washington, where Republicans have taken a significant first step. In the early hours of Saturday, House Republicans approved a measure that would cut more than $60 billion out of the budget and take aim at a number of Democratic constituencies and favored projects But as important as the battles in Washington may be, what happens in the states will be as or more significant in shaping public attitudes heading toward 2012. In Washington, Democrats still control the Senate and the White House, greatly limiting Republicans' ability to work their will. In many states, Republicans control the governor's mansion and both houses of the legislature, in some places by significant margins. That's why Wisconsin looms so large at this moment. Gov. Scott Walker (R) has put down an early marker in the budget wars. His proposal to scale back benefits for public employees and, more dramatically, to curtail collective-bargaining rights for many of those workers, has triggered the most significant clash yet. Someone is likely to lose big in this battle, although it might take months for it to be clear who.
Congress, Obama brace for showdown as government shutdown looms-Washington Post
House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) has said he won't approve another extension unless it also includes significant cuts. And it's unclear whether the scores of Republican freshmen who were elected last fall on their promise to dramatically downsize the federal government will agree to any sort of deal, particularly after insisting on the deep cuts agreed to Saturday. In an effort to appear frugal in their own right, Senate Democrats say they plan to cut $41 billion. But that is based on Obama's 2011 budget proposal, which was never enacted. In real-world terms, Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid's budget would keep spending at current levels. House leaders used this same math to claim that their $61 billion in cuts was equivalent to $100 billion, the amount Republicans pledged in their campaigns last fall. Either way the numbers are counted, the two sides remain more than $60 billion apart. "Democrats are demonstrating a good faith effort to reduce the deficit and prevent a government shutdown," Reid (D-Nev.) said in a statement Saturday. But Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) immediately rejected Reid's approach, saying cuts had to be made to deal with an annual federal deficit predicted to hit $1.6 trillion this year.
- Washington Post: Mideast leaders look to hold onto power as protests continue
- Washington Post: Bahrain unrest: U.S. lobbying effort preceded easing of crackdown on protesters
- New York Times: Protesters Take Bahrain Square as Forces Leave
- New York Times: Deficits Reshaping the Debate as Republicans Jockey for 2012
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