DEMOCRATS VS REPUBLICANS ON CORE ISSUES
MINIMUM WAGE AND GUN SAFETY
MINIMUM WAGE BATTLE MAY WOUND REPUBLICANS: “President Barack Obama’s push for a $9-an-hour minimum wage in his State of the Union address this week has already been rejected by Speaker John A. Boehner, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing for Democrats.
“As the president and his fellow Democrats look for popular wedge issues in their effort to hold on to the Senate and their long-shot bid to retake the House in 2014, the debate could prove a useful cudgel regardless of whether the policy becomes law.” — Roll Call 2/13/13
“President Obama’s expansive second term agenda — as articulated in his Inaugural Address and State of the Union speech — has broadened the array of policy and governing priorities Democrats have at their disposal to run on in 2014. Dems in charge of the party’s strategy for retaking the House next year are planning to campaign aggressively on not just tax fairness and defending entitlements, as in the last two elections, but on issues like gun control and the minimum wage, too.
“In an interview today, DCCC chair Steve Israel told me the party’s House candidates will be running aggressively on Obama’s proposals to reduce gun violence and raise the minimum wage. Both will be incorporated into a broader indictment of the GOP as so imprisoned by ideological extremism that the party has been rendered incapable of tackling the major challenges facing the country.” — Washington Post 2/21/13
DEMOCRATS VS REPUBLICANS ON GUN SAFETY: “A visibly distraught father of a 6-year-old killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut urged a Senate panel on Wednesday to pass legislation to prevent another gun massacre.
“It’s hard for me to talk about my deceased son,” said Neil Heslin, father of Jesse Lewis. “I’m not here for sympathy or a pat on the back. I’m here to speak up for my son.” — USA Today 2-28-13
“Democrats and Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee strongly disagreed Wednesday over a proposed reinstatement of the assault weapons ban, indicating that the panel may break along party lines when it marks up the legislation, possibly as early as Thursday.
“At a crowded hearing filled with uniformed law enforcement officers and those who have lost loved ones to gun violence, Democrats said the assault weapons legislation (S 150) — which would ban the future production of 157 specific kinds of gun, as well as ammunition magazines with more than 10 bullets — would save lives. Recent shooting massacres could have been prevented or made less deadly had the proposal been on the books, they said.” — Roll Call 2-27-13
VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN ACT (VAWA)
VAWA PASSES WITH REPUBLICANS VOTING AGAINST IT: “Native [American] representation in Congress doubled as a result of the last election—from one to two representatives. In January, political newcomer Markwayne Mullin (Cherokee) joined Tom Cole (Chickasaw), who has served in the House since 2003. Both Republicans represent congressional districts in Oklahoma—and might illustrate what’s at stake when the Democratic Party fails to engage Native candidates. Representative Mullin voted against two versions of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) reauthorization yesterday, but won’t explain why.
“The Senate had already approved an expanded version of the bill, which allowed for the prosecution in tribal courts of non-Native men who attack Native women on reservation land.” — The Nation 3/1/13
“As has been fairly heavily reported, the US Congress has finally pass the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), after letting it expire earlier this year.
“While the Senate passed the bill by an overwhelming margin, … the House voted on the bill despite less than a majority of the party in power, in this case the GOP, in favor of the bill.
“All 138 of the No votes against the VAWA were Republicans.
“That’s probably not a surprising result to anybody with even a moderate attention span.
“What I find interesting though is that of those 138 Republicans who voted No, by my count, ten are women.” — Daily Kos 2/28/13
CONTRASTS BETWEEN DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS
DEMOCRATS WILL PAINT REPUBLICANS AS EXTREME: “Two-term presidents historically suffer from voters’ six-year itch, when the president’s party loses a substantial number of House and Senate seats after a half dozen years in office.
“But Democrats think it might be different in 2014.”
“Writes [Steve] Israel: “Redistricting has empowered the worst elements of the Republican Party, amplifying the extremist echo chamber and making the tea party Republican congress toxic to voters. Republicans redrew already-safe members into even more Republican districts, driving control of their party more to their base, forcing more primaries, and making it less likely that they can put forward a party agenda that appeals to Independents.”” — The Week 2/17/13
“2012 Congressional Vote Ratings: A Deep Divide Between the Parties” — See interactive chart at National Journal 2/22/13