The New Nullifiers
March 25, 2010

WASHINGTON -- Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli seems determined to use an attack on health care reform to bring us back to the 1830s. Cuccinelli, to cheers from the Tea Party crowd, went to court this week to overturn the new law, which he says conflicts with a Virginia statute "protecting its citizens from a government-imposed mandate to buy health insurance." "Normally, such conflicts are decided in favor of the federal government," he said, "but because we believe the federal law is unconstitutional, Virginia's law should prevail." The Republican attorney general's move reveals how

What's the matter with Arkansas (and Idaho, and Oklahoma, and….)
March 17, 2010

Harold Pollack is the Helen Ross Professor of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago and a Special Correspondent for The Treatment. The New Deal was famously described as an arrangement whereby the South was forced against its will to accept billions of dollars every year. Something similar might be said of the current health reform. Washington is on pins and needles waiting to discern the votes of Blue Dog Representatives whose constituents have the most to gain from health reform.  I was reminded of this fact by Michael Tomasky's recent column.

Health Care And The 1994 Precedent
March 15, 2010

There has been a lot of argument over whether passing health care reform or letting it die would offer the most attractive strategy for Democrats.

What Failure Would Cost the Democrats
March 15, 2010

Disgruntled (if not former) Democrats Pat Caddell and Doug Schoen are the latest to join in offering advice to President Obama and Congressional Democrats to abandon their health reform quest before it causes catastrophic damage to the party.

In Red America, The Stimulus Is Permanent
February 26, 2010

The way that Republican governors made a fuss last year about accepting stimulus dollars, and their continued uproar about growing deficits, it's worth another reminder that the most Republican states also get the most money from the federal government over what they put in. Here's a chart put together by a reader showing that, since 1981, some of the most conservative states have been the biggest beneficiaries of federal spending.  The 48 blue marks (the chart leaves off Hawaii and Alaska) show how much federal funding each state receives beyond what it pays in federal taxes.

Nice Guys Finish Last
February 11, 2010

Everyone remembers that George W. Bush’s first tax cut was contentious when Congress considered it back in 2001. So contentious, in fact, that the Bushies didn’t even try passing it under normal Senate procedures. The GOP leadership, worried that it couldn’t collect 60 votes to overcome a Democratic filibuster, relied on reconciliation, the Senate rule that allows budget-related measures to pass with a simple majority. What fewer people remember is the margin by which Bush’s tax cut finally passed the Senate. As it happens, the number of yeas was 62—including 12 Democrats.

Changes to EITC in Proposed Budget
February 05, 2010

The president’s proposed budget for FY2011 contains a few key provisions that will mean good news for low-income working families at tax time, even after the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA/stimulus bill) runs its course. It also proposes to terminate an ineffective program for these families, but stops short of advancing a much-needed replacement. Top 10 States and Metro Areas for Increases in EITC Dollars due to ARRA Changes in Eligibility First, ARRA temporarily expanded two important tax credits for working families that the Administration now proposes to make permanent.

Failed Reform Would Haunt the Democrats Like the Undead
February 03, 2010

President Obama is going to address another Congressional gathering today. The audience will be more friendly this time: It will be the Senate Democratic caucus. But the stakes will be just as high as they were when Obama spoke to Republican House members last week. Health care is bound to come up at the meeting. I assume Obama will raise it during his prepared remarks; if not, he'll get questions about it. And the big controversy right now is whether the Senate is willing to amend its bill through the budget reconciliation process.

No Organized Political Party
January 20, 2010

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee emails this: From: Ryan RudominerSent: Wednesday, January 20, 2010 1:17 PMSubject: Winners and Losers from the Mass. Senate special - Washington Post's Chris Cillizza  From: Chris Cillizza To: Chris Cillizza Sent: Wed Jan 20 13:08:51 2010 Subject: Winners and Losers from the Mass. Senate special Winner. Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee: In light of the Massachusetts loss, the DCCC's record of five straight special election wins -- including one last fall in a difficult environment in Upstate New York -- looks a lot more impressive.

Steele Cage
January 15, 2010

Last weekend began with Michael Steele, chairman of the Republican National Committee, clinging to his job primarily via implicit racial blackmail. Steele’s tenure has consisted of a string of gaffes and managerial blunders, but Republicans had concluded that his color made him un-fireable.