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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review March 30, 2011 24 Adar II, 5771

Coburn and Durbin, the dynamic duo of the debt crisis

By Dana Milbank




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Sen. Tom Coburn, the Oklahoma Republican who received a perfect 100 percent rating from the American Conservative Union last year, does not frequently find common cause with Sen. Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat who received a perfect zero. But the nation's future may depend on an alliance between them.

Both are members of the "Gang of Six," a self-proclaimed group of Democratic and Republican senators negotiating a long-term budget deal to resolve the $14 trillion debt crisis. Their model for a solution is the Bowles-Simpson debt commission proposal, which Coburn and Durbin, both panel members, supported. It's a long shot, but with luck these lawmakers will agree in the coming weeks on a plan to cut entitlement spending and to increase taxes — the unpleasant but essential ingredients of any attempt to tackle the deficit.

The resistance from both sides will be intense; after all, the much smaller effort to cut spending in the current fiscal year has brought threats of agovernment shutdown. And nobody will feel the pressure more than the group's most conservative member, Coburn, and its most liberal, Durbin. The success of the Gang of Six depends on this political odd couple: whether Durbin, the No. 2 Senate Democratic leader, can persuade Democrats to accept some Social Security cuts and whether Coburn, a doctor, can overcome Republicans' anaphylactic response to tax increases.

Coburn was already at work on this task on Tuesday, firing off a letter to a one-time ally, Grover Norquist, the Muppet-like leader of Americans for Tax Reform and the self-appointed enforcer of anti-tax orthodoxy. Norquist's group had accused Coburn of violating the "Taxpayer Protection Pledge."

Coburn responded by accusing Norquist of supporting "wasteful spending and a de facto tax increase." He charged the activist with a "profoundly misguided embrace of progressive, activist government" as well as "excessive spending and unsustainable deficits." Coburn suggested that the activist "realign your organization with its own charter."

The proximate cause of this unusual brawl on the right was a Coburn proposal, opposed by Norquist, to do away with a tax break for ethanol producers. But it was really part of the larger fight over debt reduction.

Coburn voted for the debt commission's plan to cut the deficit by $4?trillion over 10 years through spending cuts and elimination of tax breaks — and for this he was rewarded with an item on Norquist's Web site titled "The Two Faces of Senator Tom Coburn."

The senator, however, refused to be bullied by Norquist's orthodoxy police. He said Norquist was "demanding that Senate conservatives violate their consciences and support distortions in the tax code that increase spending and maintain Washington's power." Coburn said it was not the job of "party operatives" to "determine how to address our unsustainable spending and deficits, which present an existential threat to the nation we love so dearly."

It takes some bravery to stand up to Norquist, but Durbin has an even tougher job, because his opposition comes from within his own Senate Democratic leadership team. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid flatly ruled out changes to Social Security, telling MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell: "Two decades from now I'm willing to take a look at it, but I'm not willing to take a look at it now."

Reid and other Democratic lawmakers held a rally on Monday calling on Congress to "back off Social Security." Sen. Chuck Schumer (N.Y.), a rival who has so far bested Durbin in the Reid succession battle, opposes the Group of Six on the grounds that it's bad politics for Democrats. Sen. Max Baucus (Mont.), chairman of the Finance Committee, opposes the Group of Six because it trespasses on his turf.

Durbin is almost always a reliable partisan. On the Senate floor, he routinely carries his party's message, speaking directly to the gallery and the TV cameras. On Tuesday morning, he was orchestrating another partisan stunt: He waved his family's 150-year-old Lithuanian Bible for the cameras as he kicked off a hearing on Muslims' civil rights — a session designed to rebut House Republicans' hearing examining Muslim radicalization.

But on Social Security, Durbin hasn't yielded to the party line. Though he has warned that including Social Security cuts could doom the agreement, he has not made excluding them a condition of his support. Indeed, Durbin already voted for the debt commission package that included Social Security cuts, even though he correctly predicted at the time: "My vote will be widely criticized."

For Durbin and Coburn, the criticism is only beginning.

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Previously:



03/28/11: The Obama doctrine: A gray area the size of Libya
03/24/11: Dems as Weiners
03/23/11: Obama's quick trip from tyrant to weakling
03/17/11: Who's afraid of Elizabeth Warren?
03/15/11: The underwear flap over Bradley Manning
03/10/11: In Senate's debt debate, talk isn't cheap
03/09/11: With Obama's new Gitmo policy, Administration officials had some 'splainin to do
03/02/11: Issa press aide scandal is like bad reality TV
02/25/11: Jay Carney: Mouthpiece for an inscrutable White House
02/14/11: The Donald trumps the pols at CPAC
02/09/11: Arianna Huffington's ideological transformation


© 2011, Washington Post Writers Group