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• Dems slipping away from Reid on budget deal
• ObamaCare navigators not trained, committing fraud
• Vast majority believes ObamaCare will harm them
• Fournier: The devolution of Obama
• Sheriff Joe tries stop and frisk
DEMS SLIPPING AWAY FROM REID ON BUDGET DEAL - Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin told CBS’ “Face the Nation” that his team will need at least eight Republicans to pass a two-year budget deal approved last week by the Republican controlled House. That’s his way of saying that three members of the Democratic conference have already told him that they will not vote for the deal. Which three? Vulnerable Democrats Sen. Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Kay Hagan of North Carolina have been noncommittal, but Fox News First suspects that the trouble is on the left. No word as yet from Elizabeth Warren, the freshman Democrat who has taken the reins of the liberal wing of Reid’s conference. Every vote Reid loses means another he will have to get from Republicans. John Boehner delivered. Can Reid?
[Drucker’s got the deets - Washington Examiner’s David Drucker looks at how the deal came together.]
Is eight not enough? - Republican Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake, both of Arizona and Susan Collins of Maine all said they would vote for the bill and another four – Bob Corker of Tennessee, Thad Cochran of Mississippi, Johnny Isakson of Georgia and Mike Johanns of Nebraska were undecided, but sounded like they were leaning toward voting “yea.” Moderates like Mark Kirk of Illinois and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee seem unlikely to filibuster the budget deal, so what is Team Reid hinting at? Do they need more? Lawmakers return to town today to start jawboning the deal in person.
Fight! Fight! Fight! - How did Team Boehner sell the small-beer budget deal? The promise of fights still to come. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., says the Feb. 7 debt-limit battle will be consequential. “We don’t want ‘nothing’ out of the debt limit. We’re going to decide what it is we can accomplish out of this debt limit fight,” Ryan told “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace. Fox News has more.
[“For those of us who believe the federal government is too big, too intrusive, too involved in our lives, what [the budget deal] tells us is that if we want a budget deal we can wrap our arms around, we're going to have to win in the 2014 election…Things are much different a year from now if Republicans are in charge of the Senate.” – Gov. Scott Walker, R-Wis., on NBC’s “Meet the Press”]
OBAMACARE NAVIGATORS NOT TRAINED, COMMITTING FRAUD - A House Government and Oversight Committee report, first obtained by Breitbart has found, “Obamacare Navigators have been giving Americans misinformation and, in some cases, actively encouraging enrollees to commit fraud in order to raise their subsidies. To complicate matters further, there is no way for Americans to find out whether their Navigators are properly certified.”
VAST MAJORITY BELIEVE OBAMACARE WILL HARM THEM - Most Americans feel that ObamaCare will make their own care worse. The latest AP/GfK poll finds nearly four in five respondents see their policies changing for the worse under ObamaCare. Another 69 percent expect their premiums to go up, with another 59 percent bracing for a rise in deductibles. About sixty percent of respondents not approving of the way President Obama is handling healthcare.
Generation gap - The latest from the USAToday/Pew poll shows Millennials still souring on President Obama and his signature law. Fifty-four percent of young people disapproved of his signature entitlement program. Obama’s job approval with adults under 30 clocked in at 46 percent, down from 67 percent a year ago. Fox News has more.
Looked good on paper - Daily Caller reports well over 50,000 paper applications for ObamaCare have yet to be processed. The government has taken on an outside contractor to assist in the backlog. Nearly 100,000 paper applications have been processed with consumers just recently finding out the results. Officials have now resorted to calling these individuals, encouraging them to sign up online. The paper applications do not actually enroll individuals in ObamaCare but merely determines their eligibility.
[The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services conceded over the weekend that 15,000 ObamaCare transactions were either not recorded or had errors. A spokesperson attributed the problem to “larger technical system issues.” The total number of corrupted transactions is not known. The issues could result in thousands believing they have coverage facing a gap on Jan. 1.]
BRITS FURIOUS OVER BOTCHED CARE - A series of damning reports about the quality and availability of care under Britain’s National Health Service have brought that nation’s government-run health system to political center stage. As the Daily Mail reports, the topic is usually off limits to politicians owing to the sacrosanct status of universal care. But as the body count rises from hospital botches and patients grow frustrated with the inability to get doctors, politicians are gingerly picking up the topic. Among the stunning revelations: Nearly a quarter of expectant mothers were abandoned by their midwives. Another study found deadly, egregious mistakes made on a regular basis in the nation’s hospitals. A survey also shows that families have mostly given up on securing appointments with their doctors. Public confidence in the system has plunged to record lows as the government is seeking to address the issue. Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt recently said that NHS staff often confided in him about poor care.
FOURNIER: THE DEVOLUTION OF OBAMA - Ron Fournier considers a recent WaPo report about the administration delaying controversial rules ahead of the 2012 election for National Journal. Fournier offers this scathing criticism, “The Obama White House put politics before governing in 2012, lied about it, and still won't own up to it...Obama's apologists will say that every president plays politics with policy in elections years. Two problems with that. First, Obama promised to be better than the status quo. Second, he's worse.”
MCCAIN IN THE UKRAINE - Senators John McCain, R-Ariz., and Chris Murphy, D-Conn., join the tug-of-war over the Ukraine this weekend. The senators traveled to Kiev to rally with hundreds of thousands of protesters against President Viktor Yanukovich. “These people love the United States of America, they love freedom, and I don’t think you could view this as anything but our traditional support for people who want free and democratic society,” McCain said on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday. Protesters have been rallying since November after Yanukovich refused to sign a European Union agreement, opting for closer ties with Vladimir Putin’s Russia instead. WaPo has the story.
‘We’re not mad, we just want to talk…’ - The head of the National Security Administration task force investigating leaks by former contractor Edward Snowden, says he would be open to brokering a deal with Snowden. Rick Ledgett told CBS News’ “60 Minutes” that he would consider a deal with Snowden over the remaining documents he hasn’t leaked. Russia has granted asylum to Snowden. Snowden has said he would return to the U.S. if he is granted amnesty.
BAIER TRACKS: SCROOGES? - “Is the Federal Reserve dialing back for Christmas? The WSJ polled (sorry, paywalled) the members of the central bank’s board and found growing readiness to ‘taper.’ This could be the first sign that the Fed will really start to dial back its purchase of Treasury bonds flooding money into the US economy – about $85 billion a month. The stock market seemed to be ok with an improving economy, which was new last week with jobs numbers. So we'll see.” – Bret Baier.
WITH YOUR SECOND CUP OF COFFEE...Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote that “Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.” But what are we supposed to do while waiting for the monarchs of joy to touch down? Arthur Brooks tells us: Get busy and make something. The head of the American Enterprise Institute shares A Formula for Happiness: “Social scientists have caught the butterfly. After 40 years of research, they attribute happiness to three major sources: genes, events and values… relieving poverty brings big happiness, but income, per se, does not. Even after accounting for government transfers that support personal finances, unemployment proves catastrophic for happiness… Work can bring happiness by marrying our passions to our skills, empowering us to create value in our lives and in the lives of others.”
[Yeah, yeah, I know it was in Sunday’s paper. But people with small children don’t get to loll about reading the Sunday Times and sipping caramel macchiatos, all right.]
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POLL CHECK - Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval: Approve – 42.5 percent//Disapprove – 53.4 percent
Direction of Country: Right Direction – 30.0 percent//Wrong Track – 63.5 percent
HAWKEYES HAPPY WITH RYAN - While Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., is facing backlash from some conservatives over his budget deal, he is not drawing the ire of Iowans. A Des Moines Register poll shows the 2012 vice presidential nominee with the highest approval rating of potential 2016 contenders. Ryan holds a 73 percent approval rating among Iowa Republicans, followed by Fox News host and former Gov. Mike Huckabee, R-Ark.,at 66 percent, Rick Santorum with 58 percent, Gov. Rick Perry, R-Texas, holding 55 percent, and Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., garnering 51 percent approval. Only 10 percent disapproved of Ryan, with nearly 30 percent voicing disapproval of Christie.
Clinton cruising - The same survey showed 89 percent of those polled hold a favorable view of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, with only 7 percent disapproving. Vice President Joe Biden holds 71 percent popularity with Iowa voters. Similarly, nearly 70 percent were unfamiliar with former Gov. Brian Schweitzer, D-Mont., and Gov. Martin O’Malley, D-Md.
OBAMA FUNDRAISERS BOON FOR DEMS - The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee will release figures today touting its best off-year November fundraising ever. The group raised $5.1 million, with $48.6 million raised this year and $12 million in the bank. President Obama’s flurry of November fundraisers contributed to the uptick in support as 2014 shapes up to be an expensive race. Washington Examiner has more.
KING HAWKISH ON TEA PARTY ATTACKS - Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., is New Hampshire today to help local Republicans with their fundraising. He will also be testing the waters for his own 2016 bid. King has made nearly a half-dozen appearances in the first-in-the-nation primary state already this year. The Manchester Union Leader reports King will use the visit to launch a political action committee called, “American Leadership Now” that counters what he considers the Tea Party’s isolationist views.
Wait, isn’t he German? - House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan downplayed Speaker John Boehner’s harsh criticism of outside groups saying the Speaker “just got his Irish up” and that the Tea Party is “indispensable, invaluable in helping keep the taxpayer in the game, keeping Washington accountable.” Fox News has more.
IF YOU’VE GIVEN UP PLAYBOOK…“IF YOU READ ONLY ONE THING - ‘With eyes on Hillary Clinton, Democrats fight to maintain digital edge,’ by Kenneth P. Vogel, with Maggie Haberman: ‘Some of the biggest names and deepest pockets of the Clinton and Obama eras are involved in various digital efforts, including billionaire financier George Soros, Clinton insider Harold Ickes, Google's Eric Schmidt and former Obama campaign manager Jim Messina. ... [T]he super PAC intends to deploy the new database as early as January to mobilize supporters, ... building and executing a model of voter coalitions and messages to win a presidential campaign. ... A direct mail program [using] Clinton's likeness, and testimonials from high-profile surrogates, [will] raise cash and collect supporter data. It's expected to launch sometime in the first quarter of 2014 ... It's expected that ... data ... would be rented, swapped or sold to Clinton's campaign, meaning contracts ... are being closely watched as a symbolic foot-in-the-door to the 2016 effort.’ http://goo.gl/r79TbT”
TAXPAYER FUNDS FOR GLOBAL WARMING LOBBYISTS - Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., and the Alabama Coal Association say that environmental groups are getting large grants and then turning around to lobby the government for tighter regulations. Daily Caller has the story.
TOP TWEETS - @laurenashburn’s top tweet pick for this morning @SenTedCruz: “Santa is in luck -- Al Gore’s prediction that the North Pole would be ice-free by now never came to pass: http://t.co/rPfFwIiFsX”
Lauren Ashburnof “#MEDIABUZZ” tracks the Twitterverse every day in Top Twitter Talk.]
YOU HAVE A SEAT ON THE PANEL: STICKER SHOCKED - ObamaCare coverage comes with pricey deductibles. That was the consensus among viewer voters across the political spectrum during Friday’s “Special Report with Bret Baier” All-Star Panel. As measured by Bing Pulse, agreement between Democrats, Republicans, and independents rose sharply when Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., stated some could see deductibles as high as $12,000 under ObamaCare. Democrats agreed with Charles Krauthammer’s conclusion that the administration’s “Plan B” is “essentially nationalizing healthcare.”
Discussion of who is actually covered under ObamaCare drew increased viewer participation. Democrats disagreed that the Jan. 1 deadline for new policies to start under ObamaCare may not be met. Krauthammer saw a surge in viewer votes when he asked, “Do you want to live in a country where the federal government controls all of the medicine and health care? Which is exactly where we are now.” The question saw viewer votes spike to 28,000 per minute. Nearly 200,000 viewer panelists participated in Friday’s debate. Take a deeper data dive and see the full results here. Monday’s panelists include Katie Pavlich, Kirsten Powers, Charles Krauthammer and you! Don’t miss your opportunity to take your seat on the panel.
GEAUX… TO TRAFFIC COURT - Maybe it’s the drive-through daiquiris… According to a study of traffic records by CarInsuranceComparison.com, Louisiana drivers are the worst. The Pelican State ranked in the top five in citations issued for failure to obey traffic signals and seat belt laws, speeding tickets and careless driving. Also on the list: South Carolina, Mississippi, Texas and Alabama. Rounding out the top ten for terrible drivers are Florida, Missouri, North Carolina, Montana and North Dakota. See the full survey from CarInsuranceComparison.com here.
[Ed. note: No New Jersey? No Maryland?? No Ohio??? C’mon! I take it the folks from CarInsuranceComparison.com think it’s cool to drive 50 in the left lane while applying makeup and talking on the phone.]
ASK YOURSELF ONE QUESTION: ‘DO I FEEL NAUGHTY?’ WELL, DO YA, PUNK? - You’d better be good for goodness sake. That’s the message the police department in Hampton, Va. is trying to get out. In an effort to deter crime, the police made a holiday remix out of “Jingle Bells,” and with a little help from Santa they’re sending a message to criminals that they’d “better think twice” before stealing. Watch the video here.
[Will you click to see the story of a deaf father who hears his daughter sing for the first time thanks to new technology? What if it was at a Christmas concert? What if there was a video? Mmhmm.]
SHERIFF JOE TRIES STOP AND FRISK - Picture this: Vice President Joe Biden gave The Hill’s White House Correspondent Aime Parnes some special attention during a photograph session at a recent holiday party. So did the veep get handsy? See the picture, and Parnes reaction, from The Daily Caller and decide for yourself.