NEWS AND OPINION:
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy made the two-mile journey from the U.S. Capitol to the White House on Wednesday to talk on the nation’s pocketbook issues with President Biden — and the press in instant pursuit. Mr. McCarthy has upped his ante in the media world with a tried and true method of gaining traction. He went in person.
It was a “high stakes” meeting, according to The Washington Post. No, it was a “clash,” said CNBC.
“Biden, McCarthy, once breakfast mates, wrangle over U.S. debt,” observed the Associated Press, referencing the fact that the two used to chat over breakfast back when Mr. Biden occupied the vice presidential home at the Naval Observatory.
Mr. McCarthy’s move could be a crowd-pleaser, however.
“As partisan battles over the debt ceiling and other key issues loom and the GOP takes back control of the House of Representatives following last fall’s midterm elections, most Republicans say they want their party’s leaders to take a hard line in their dealings with President Joe Biden and the Democrats,” notes a report released Tuesday by the Pew Research Center.
“More than 6-in-10 Republicans and independents who lean toward the Republican Party (64%) say that Republican congressional leaders should ‘stand up’ to Biden on matters that are important to GOP voters, even if this makes it harder to address critical problems facing the country,” the pollster said.
The survey of 5,152 U.S. adults was conducted Jan 18-24. Some news organizations are already fretting, however.
“Could the economy fall prey to McCarthy’s ambition?” CNN asked.
J.D. VANCE REMEMBERS
Those who recall former President Trump‘s historic trip to North Korea — among his other diplomatic gestures — may want to mull over an idea set forth by Sen. J.D. Vance.
The Ohio Republican summed up the 45th president’s prowess on the world stage in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece with a telling title: “Trump’s best foreign policy? Not starting any wars.”
The 45th president’s unprecedented, face-to-face encounter with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on June 30, 2019, was a global bell-ringer. Mr. Vance has not forgotten Mr. Trump.
“He has my support in 2024 because I know he won’t recklessly send Americans to fight overseas,” the lawmaker wrote, noting that his adult life has been “shaped by presidents who threw America into unwise wars and failed to win them.”
The track record was different this time.
“In Mr. Trump’s four years in office, he started no wars despite enormous pressure from his own party and even members of his own administration. Not starting wars is perhaps a low bar, but that’s a reflection of the hawkishness of Mr. Trump’s predecessors and the foreign-policy establishment they slavishly followed,” Mr. Vance later noted.
“I prefer a different kind of statesmanship: one that stands athwart the crowd, reminding leaders in both parties that the U.S. national interest must be pursued ruthlessly but also carefully, with strong words but great restraint,” Mr. Vance wrote.
“But Mr. Trump did more than simply keep the peace. He brokered the Abraham Accords, a historic agreement between Israel and Sunni Arab states providing the best hope of a long-term counterbalance to Iran. He began the long, slow process of decoupling the U.S. from its economic reliance on China. He opened diplomatic talks with North Korea after a half-century of stagnation,” he said.
PERSISTENT TRUMP FIXATION
Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley has revealed that she will soon jump into the 2024 presidential race.
It is interesting, perhaps, that much of the coverage in the last 48 hours managed to include a reference to the aforementioned former President Donald Trump. A few sample headlines:
“Nikki Haley will reportedly run for president in 2024 — after vowing not to challenge Trump” (Forbes); “Nikki Haley, once Trump’s U.N. ambassador, to take him on in 2024” (Reuters); “Donald Trump’s tantrumless reaction to Nikki Haley’s 2024 ambitions is telling” (Vanity Fair); “Trump seems oddly relaxed about Republican rival Nikki Haley. Is it because she doesn’t stand a chance?” (The Guardian); “Nikki Haley plans to challenge Trump with 2024 White House bid” (Bloomberg); and “Nikki Haley to enter GOP presidential race Feb. 15, giving Trump 1st official rival” (The Week).
SOMEBODY DOING SOMETHING
There’s always time for polite applause when lawmakers band together in the name of potentially productive legislation.
A half-dozen Republican senators have introduced the “Zero Based Budget Act” to make a dent in the $31 trillion debt which hangs over the nation — and to curb “unjustified spending” at the federal level plus reduce U.S. debt.
Sens. James E. Risch and Mike Crapo, both of Idaho; Mike Braun of Indiana, Rick Scott of Florida, Ted Cruz of Texas, and Ted Budd of North Carolina introduced the Zero Based Budget Act to reduce the more than $31 trillion of debt held by the general public and curb spending at the federal level.
“Democrats’ radical fiscal policies are doing nothing but burdening future generations, and the continuous spending is putting America into an increasingly dangerous financial situation,” Mr. Risch said in a written statement shared with inside the Beltway.
“Through the Zero Based Budget Act, Congress can push federal agencies back into line by creating transparency and a means to save taxpayer dollars. My legislation will require agencies to justify their spending levels every six years and propose expenditure reductions by two percent. With good governance and additional fiscally responsible legislation, there is hope we can put America back on track,” he said.
Let’s hope so.
POLL DU JOUR
• 72% of U.S. adults say the nation’s economy is “getting worse”; 90% of Republicans, 76% of independents and 53% of Democrats agree.
• 4% say the economy is staying the “same”; 3% of Republicans, 4% of independents and 4% of Democrats agree.
• 22% overall say the economy is getting “better”; 7% of Republicans, 17% of independents and 42% of Democrats agree.
• 2% overall “don’t know”; 0% of Republicans, 3% of independents and 1% of Democrats agree.
SOURCE: A Gallup poll of 1,011 U.S. adults conducted Jan. 2-22.
• Follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin.