On the Radar

Check ON THE RADAR regularly each week to read the latest reporting by award-winning WASHINGTON WEEK panelists.

December 22, 2011

Benefits Fight Heats Up in Washington

With Eamon Javers, CNBC

Labor to launch attacks on Republicans in benefits fight, with CNBC's Eamon Javers. "The Democrats are secretly loving this," he says. "

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Gingrich Condemns Senate on Payroll Tax Vote

By Trip Gabriel and Jeff Zeleny, New York Times

Newt Gingrich put a pox on all parties in Washington on Wednesday for failing to pass a payroll tax extension, but he especially condemned the Senate, where Republicans joined Democrats to vote for a two-month extension of the tax break, which affects 160 million Americans. House Republicans under Speaker John A. Boehner rejected that plan.
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Obama, Senate Democrats Rally for Benefits Extension

By Susan Davis, USA TODAY

President Obama and Senate Democrats appealed to House Republicans on Wednesday to return to Washington and approve a two-month extension of benefits for American workers before they expire Dec. 31. The House GOP remains opposed to a short-term patch despite mounting opposition to the strategy, even from within the party.
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December 21, 2011

Congress's Payroll Standoff - Who Blinks First?

By Major Garrett, National Journal

Less than two weeks remain – with a holiday in between – for Congress to keep alive a payroll-tax cut, unemployment insurance, and a “doc fix” patch. Here is how it could play out.
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Obama Approval Rating Shows Signs of Rebound in Two Polls

By Julianna Goldman, Bloomberg News

President Barack Obama’s approval ratings are showing signs of rebounding following some recent positive economic data and after months of aggressively promoting his jobs plan and criticizing his Republican opposition. Forty-nine percent of Americans approve of how Obama is handling his job, according to an ABC News/Washington Post poll and another conducted for CNN.
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A Rhetorical Return for ‘YOYO’ Economics

By Helene Cooper, New York Times

Just in time for the presidential campaign season, “you’re on your own” economics — a k a YOYO — has returned to the rhetorical landscape. YOYO economics, a term coined by the economist Jared Bernstein in his 2006 book “All Together Now: Common Sense for a Fair Economy,” is meant to refer — critically, of course — to the idea that many Republican economic proposals simply shift risk from the government and big corporations to individuals and families.
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Payroll Tax Fight Heats Up

With Eamon Javers, CNBC

Neither side in the payroll tax fight is showing signs of backing down, reports CNBC's Eamon Javers.

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Romney Goes on TV to Attack Gingrich

By Sam Youngman, Reuters

Presidential candidate Mitt Romney unloaded on rival Republican Newt Gingrich on Tuesday on a liberal television network, comparing him to former candidate Herman Cain and others who have led the field briefly before flaming out. "(Gingrich's) lead is not as much as it used to be," Romney said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe." "But that's sort of the process that other people have gone through."
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Obama Blasts House GOP for Blocking Payroll Tax Cut Extension

By Christi Parsons, Los Angeles Times

While members of Congress point fingers at each other for gumming up the payroll tax cut, President Obama is watching the bickering from the White House--where he is apparently happy to spend the holiday season until a deal gets done. The rest of the Obama family has gone ahead to Hawaii for their pre-planned holiday trip. But aides say the president will continue to delay his vacation in hopes of inspiring House Republicans to take up a Senate-approved measure extending the tax cut beyond midnight New Year’s Eve.
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President Obama makes a rare appearance during the White House Press Briefing to encourage a compromise to Payroll Tax Cut extensions. (CNN)

White House Faces Tough Choice On Iran Sanctions

by Tom Gjelten, NPR

Let Iran off the hook or undermine the global economy? Slap sanctions on an Iranian energy company or provide Europe with an alternative to Russian gas? Washington policymaking is especially difficult when the aims conflict, and few cases illustrate that principle more clearly than the challenge of finding a way to punish Iran without hurting someone else.
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House Rejects 2-Month Extension of Payroll Tax Cut

By Susan Davis, USA TODAY

The Republican-controlled House on Tuesday rejected a Senate-approved two-month extension of a payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits to millions of Americans, raising the likelihood that both will expire on Dec. 31.The House effectively adjourned for the year following the vote, and with the Senate out of town for the holiday, there is no resolution in sight on a legislative battle waged by House Republicans over the length of the benefits' extension. Both chambers can return to Washington at the call of party leaders if there is an agreement.
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Perry Dismisses Gingrich’s Complaint of ‘Negative’ Campaigning

By Jeff Zeleny, New York Times

Gov. Rick Perry of Texas said Tuesday that he was not concerned by a complaint from a Republican rival, Newt Gingrich, that the tenor of the presidential primary race had grown too negative and indicated that he had no plans to stop drawing contrasts in the final two weeks before the Iowa caucuses. “As long as no one is misstating the facts, I don’t consider that to be negative,” Mr. Perry said. “It’s always in the eye of the beholder.”
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Payroll Tax: A High Stakes Game of Chicken?

With John Harwood, CNBC

CNBC's John Harwood has the latest details on the payroll tax cut fight on Capitol Hill, and debating the merits of a full- year versus a two-month version of the bill, with Rep. Brad Sherman, (D-CA), and Rep. Nan Hayworth, (R-NY).

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Dems Hope for Campaign Edge on Tax Issue

By Charles Babington, Associated Press

Democrats feel they’re closer than ever in their long-running bid to paint Republicans as being much more eager to cut taxes for the rich than for the working class. But public contempt for Congress is so rampant that the effort may fade away in a pox-on-all-their-houses fog. If that happens, President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats could lose a political edge as they head into the 2012 elections with a struggling economy.
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Obama Scolds House GOP Over Payroll Tax Stalemate

By Alexis Simendinger and Caitlin Huey-Burns, RealClearPolitics

President Obama turned up the heat on House Republicans Tuesday afternoon, urging them to rethink their opposition to a Senate-approved bill that would extend the payroll tax holiday for at least two more months next year. Shortly after House conservatives voted Tuesday to rebuke the Senate and risk raising the payroll tax in January, the president grabbed his spokesman’s podium to deliver his own message to lawmakers.
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December 20, 2011

North Korea Faces 2nd Leadership Change In 60 Years

by Tom Gjelten, NPR

Intelligence analysts are scrambling to assess North Korea's designated leader Kim Jong Un, of whom very little is known. He is untested, and North Korea watchers wonder whether he will be challenged by the military or others in the leadership elite. Similar questions were raised about his father when he took over following the death of Kim Il Sung in 1994.

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House GOP Strategy on Senate Payroll Package Still Evolving

By Major Garrett, National Journal

If House Republicans have proven anything this year, it’s they are absolutely sure of what they’re against. What they have rarely been sure of, and what eludes them now, is what they are for. What also eludes them at present is a strategy to get what they want once they decide on what they want. This emerged as the key question for House Republicans as they pondered strategy on Monday.
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Dems: Romney is Easier Jobs Target than Gingrich

By Charles Babington, Associated Press

Conventional wisdom, supported by polls, maintains that Mitt Romney would be a tougher opponent than Newt Gingrich against President Barack Obama. But one factor keeps Democrats from salivating over Gingrich's rise in the Republican presidential race: Romney may present a fatter target on jobs, the issue expected to dominate the 2012 contest.
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Carney Says U.S. Has ‘No New Concerns’ About Korean Weapons

By Julianna Goldman, Bloomberg

The U.S. has “no new concerns” about North Korea’s nuclear arsenal following the death of dictator Kim Jong Il, White House press secretary Jay Carney said. The U.S. is monitoring the situation in North Korea and has consulted with allies South Korea and Japan as well as China and Russia, the other members of the six-party talks on getting North Korea to shed its nuclear weapons, Carney said at a briefing.
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North Korean Leader Kim Jong-Il lies in State (CNN)

House Speaker Foresees Extension of Payroll Tax Cuts

By Susan Davis, USA TODAY

House Speaker John Boehner told USA TODAY on Monday that he was optimistic that payroll tax cuts and unemployment benefits would be extended — despite a congressional stalemate that could result in millions of Americans losing both in the new year.
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