Sen. Chuck Schumer promised the Senate would pass a budget that includes tax reforms this year on NBC's Meet the Press. "First, it’s not true that we haven’t had budget control in effect the last several years. The budget control act of 2011 put in rigid spending cuts," Schumer said, defending their track record.. (Republicans like to claim Democrats haven't passed a budget in years.) "We're going to do a budget this year, and it's going to have revenues in it," Schumer promised. "And our Republican colleagues better get used to that fact." Schumer said he's spoken with the top Senate Democratic leaders, and he's promising their budget will take on sequestration and tax reform. "It’s going to be a great opportunity for us because in our budget that we will pass, we will have tax reform…It’s going to include revenues," Schumer said.
White House senior adviser David Plouffe gave a preview of the President's Inaugural address during his appearances on the Sunday shows. On Fox News Sunday, Plouffe said Obama's speech will stress the need for "common ground" with Republicans. "I do think he’s going to talk about how our founding values and vision can still provide us with a guiding pathway in a changing world," Plouffe said. "He’s going to talk about how our political system doesn’t require us to talk about all of our differences and political disputes, but it does require us to seek common ground when it can and should exist. He’s going to make that point very strongly." He did also say Republicans were to blame for Congress' lack of progress. "The barrier to progress here is not the president. We need to see more Republicans in Congress willing to compromise, even on revenues," Plouffe said.
On CNN's State of the Union, Plouffe said the Inaugural address will be "hopeful," and it will lay out a clear image of his second term. "What he is going to do, I think, is remind the country that our founding principles and values can guide us in a modern, changing world," Plouffe said. But Plouffe, who is leaving the White House shortly, explained the administration sees a much easier path to completion for immigration reform than gun control. "I think there is a huge consensus [on immigration], business community, Republicans around the country, the faith community, so obviously the legislative process those work its way through," Plouffe said. "But this is the moment. The stars seem to be aligned to finally get comprehensive immigration reform. So we would expect that." The outlook on guns: not so sunny. "I think on gun safety we have a very good opportunity," he said, but "it is going to be a hard battle." Plouffe said the administration is "confident and that's one reason we want to stay in communication with the American people because I think they're going to demand action here."
Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt had some advice during Fox News Sunday for President Obama on the first day of his second term: be realistic. Blunt wants the President to "legislate realistically" during his second term. "He doesn’t seem to have a specific agenda. He speaks in general terms. He likes the executive order approach a lot more than the legislative approach," Blunt said. "You’ve got to legislate, and you’ve got to legislate realistically. You don’t control the entire congress. It takes three entities to get a bill passed into law and you’ve got to come up with something that can pass a democratic senate, a republican house, and the white house can at the end of the day be for," he said. Are you listening, Mr. President?
Sen. John Barrasso told CNN's State of the Union host Candy Crowley he doesn't expect the more comprehensive gun rights proposals will pass. "I don't think it will," Barrasso said. He apparently didn't get the memo that the debt ceiling fight's been delayed for three months, because he argued that the economy is more important than gun rights. "The major issues that face American families, which are jobs and the economy and the debt and spending," he said. "That's where people are focused. That's the big anxiety in this country." Barrasso thinks passing gun control laws will likely negatively effect Democrats in the long run. "He has six Democrats up for election in two years in states where the president received fewer than 42 percent of the votes. And he doesn't want his Democrats to have to choose between their own constituents and the president's positions," Barrasso said. He also accused the President of not addressing mental health. "As a doctor, can tell you the president essentially ignored the issues of mental health and violence in society in the media and video games, and he has focused so much on what may be happening at gun shows or gun shelves and gun stores that I think he is failing to try to find a solution to the problem of the tragedy of Newtown."
Sen. Ted Cruz refused to tell NBC's Meet the Press host David Gregory whether or not he thinks the NRA's latest ad that featured the President's daughters "crossed a line." Cruz would tell him he thinks the President is using Newtown to push a liberal agenda, though. "There is a fundamental point of hypocrisy when it comes to gun control," Cruz said. "Many of the proponents of gun control are very wealthy," Cruz explained. "They live communities where they can outsource police protection... If you are talking to a single woman living in Anacostia, who has the misfortune of living next to a crack house, to tell her she doesn’t have a constitutional right to keep and bear arms, I think is fundamentally wrong." When pressed, Cruz again turned his scorn towards the President. "What I don’t think is constructive is what the president is doing right now," Cruz said. "Within minutes of that horrible tragedy in Newtown, the president began trying to exploit that tragedy, to push a gun control agenda that is designed to appeal to partisans." Cruz sees the Presdient as an opportunist more than anything. "This isn’t designed to solve violent crime," Cruz said. "This is designed to assuage liberal partisans."
Presidential adviser David Axelrod spoke in much broader terms than usual about Obama's plans for his second term on Meet the Press. "There’s a larger priority... which is how do you create an economy — rebuild an economy in which the American dream, the American compact is fresh," Axelrod said. "That’s not just dealing with the fiscal crisis; it’s about education; it’s about research and development; it’s about controlling our energy future. All of these are part of the equation, and we can’t just do one piece of it." Axelrod stressed not letting the ever-changing fiscal deadline disasters get in the way of working on more substantial planning. "We can’t let that piece become a smoke screen for not acting on the others," he said.
- Politics & Government