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The West Wing’s Week: 4/20/12 or “Increasingly Isolated”
Posted by Press Office on April 20, 2012 | comments
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Welcome to the West Wing’s Week, your guide to everything that’s happening at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue while families and small business owners continue to ask “where are the jobs?”  This is the 4/20/12 edition or “Increasingly Isolated.”

This week, President Obama found himself “boxed in” over the Keystone XL pipeline after the House voted to approve the project with a bipartisan, veto-proof majority

  • President Obama is finding himself increasingly boxed in on the Keystone pipeline fight… With gas prices sticking near $4 a gallon, unemployment high in many states and demonstrable support for the project in numerous polls, many Democrats … are beginning to sound almost indistinguishable from Speaker John A. Boehner, who called Mr. Obama ‘increasingly isolated’ in his opposition to expanding the project.” (The New York Times, 4/19/12)

  •  “Obama faces Dem pressure over Keystone pipeline.  President Obama is still facing pressure over the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada to Texas -- and now some of it is coming from fellow Democrats.” (USA TODAY, 4/20/12) 

  • “The House approved the pipeline anyway – by a veto-proof majority, 293 to 127.  Sixty-nine Democrats abandoned the president to vote with Republicans.  That's a lot of defections.” (Washington Examiner, 4/19/12)

Struggling with buyer’s remorse, congressional Democrats stepped up their “potshots” at the president’s health care law that is making it harder to hire new workers

  • “The most recent wave of misgivings from Democrats began with Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), who told New York magazine that Democrats ‘paid a terrible price for healthcare.’  … [Sen. Jim] Webb (D-VA) said the healthcare effort ‘cost Obama a lot of credibility as a leader.’”  (The Hill, 4/19/12)

The Senate – a body controlled by the president’s own party – failed to take up his signature ‘Buffett tax,’ which the House rejected in favor of a small business tax cut, a Pledge to America reform that passed with bipartisan support. 

  •  “Rejecting ‘Buffett Rule,’ House Passes Business Tax Cut. … The Republican majority pressed its one-year 20 percent cut to taxes on businesses with fewer than 500 employees… “ (The New York Times, 4/19/12) 

Will it “backfire”? The president stepped out into the Rose Garden to unveil a gimmick-ridden plan to address a problem that doesn’t exist. 

  •  “[Senior administration officials] would not go as far as to say that market manipulation is responsible for rising gas prices… Studies of the effects of speculation on oil markets indicate that it probably increases volatility, but doesn't have a major effect on average prices.” (Associated Press, 4/19/12)

  •  “Obama oil margin plan could increase price swings.  U.S. President Barack Obama’s bid to dampen the influence of oil speculators by having regulators set trading margins could backfire, potentially making prices even more volatile and leaving crude dominated only by those with the deepest pockets.”  (Reuters, 4/18/12)

The week closed with the nation’s major newspapers reporting on new data showing that the economy continues to struggle.

  •  “Fears Rise That Recovery May Falter in the Spring.  First, there are signs that there are signs that the sharp decline in the unemployment rate … might be over… The recent rise in new jobless claims has raised worries that the April report will also be disappointing… Nationwide, gas prices are about $3.90 a gallon, up from $3.85 a month ago and $3.84 a year ago.  That has cut into household’s budgets and hit consumer sentiment, which had been rising.” (The New York Times, 4/19/12) 

  • “Economic Reports Fan Fears.  Rising layoffs, falling home sales and slowing manufacturing activity are sparking fears that the economic recovery is headed for a springtime stall for the third year in a row.”  (The Wall Street Journal, 4/20/12) 

Of course, desperate times call for desperate measures:

We can do better.  Republicans’ Pledge to America laid out a simple principle: that government exists to serve the people, not the other way around.  That’s why the House continues to act on common-sense reforms that remove government barriers to job creation and lay the foundation for long-term economic growth.  Learn more atjobs.GOP.gov.   
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