Marsha Blackburn backed Boehner's budget deal - at first. But somewhere along the line, she flipped:
Blackburn, who is not known for showing emotion, delivered a teary-eyed speech in support of the agreement struck by Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). Her presentation was moving, a GOP source in the room said, noting it rallied support for the bill and caused Boehner to shed a tear.
Days later, Blackburn was among 59 Republicans who voted “no” on the fiscal 2011 spending bill.
Blackburn had been a loyal soldier throughout the spending negotiations, previously backing two stopgap measures while dozens of other Republicans defected.
Yet Blackburn turned on the legislation as it came under more scrutiny.
Looks like there won't be much consternation over the governor's first budget:
With state revenues on the rebound, Haslam has largely stuck to the plan laid out by his predecessor, Gov. Phil Bredesen, to avoid political fights over how to manage spending amid a lean economy.
"There's always some issues that will come up that there will be discussions and debate about, but I think the governor has given us an excellent working document," said state Rep. Charles Sargent, R-Franklin, chairman of the House Finance Committee. "Hopefully it'll be a lot easier than normal."
Lawmakers have had three weeks to review Haslam's budget proposal and are roughly halfway through hearings on the plan. Votes on the budget probably will not come for at least another month, but unlike in other states and at the federal level, the budget is not turning out to be a major issue this spring.
"When there's not a lot of money, there's not a whole lot of room to argue," said state Sen. Randy McNally, R-Oak Ridge, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.
The governor will deliver his State of the State tonight and the consensus is that Gov. Haslam's budget will look a lot like Gov. Bredesen's:
On the reduction front, former Gov. Phil Bredesen left a blueprint for cutting about $1.5 billion from this year's $30 billion state budget, mostly reflecting an end to the flow of federal stimulus money.
Haslam, who with his Cabinet has been conducting a much-touted "top to bottom review" of state government during his first two months in office, has said he will evaluate each Bredesen-proposed reduction, but will likely follow most of the plans.
The price of paper ballots is forcing lawmakers to reconsider the efficacy of allowing the Tennessee Voter Confidence Act to take effect:
"The problem is that it's very expensive on our local governments, and we're at a time when they are looking at raising taxes just to maintain what they have," said Rep. Glen Casada, R-College Grove.
While counties can purchase the optical scan machines with federal funds, the cost of the ballot will fall on them. The secretary of state's office estimated that cost will be more than $11 million.Casada said the timing is bad, so he's proposing getting rid of the law and possibly revisiting it when the economy turns around in a couple years.
"If we're only doing something out of fear of what could be, that's not a good idea to spend a lot of money for no reason," Casada said.
But advocates for paper ballots said the system will be cheaper for the state long term, and they believe the change is critical in order for people to know their vote counts."We could have one of the best election systems in the country. Instead, we're going to have one of the worst," said Irrera.
After watching the reckless spending spree of the past few years, I knew getting our nation’s finances in order would be difficult. But now that I’m here in Washington examining how the government spends our money, I can honestly say the situation is worse than I ever imagined. Today, with the release of the President’s budget, it is clear that this Administration is still unwilling to make the tough choices necessary to get America back on track. Much has been made of the President’s plan to freeze annual domestic spending for the next five years. But after the two-year spending binge that included government bailouts, health care, stimulus, cash for clunkers, TARP—and the list goes on—this spending freeze amounts to a hollow promise. It’s too little too late. The President’s budget just doubles down on the failed policies of the last two years. On one hand, the President proposes modest cuts, but then wants to increase spending for “investments,” which to me just sounds a like buzz word for more stimulus. In order to pay for the increase, the Administration wants to raise taxes on many Americans. Failing to tighten the federal government’s belt, then passing the cost onto the taxpayers is a failure of leadership from the President. I’m sure the President will continue to tout his plan to sell thousands of government-owned buildings that sit empty and unused and expect people to applaud this small gesture. Forgive me if I’m not impressed.
“It is disappointing that the President would release a staggering budget months after the American people made clear they were done with Washington spending money we don’t have on programs we don’t want. Instead of reducing overall spending, the President’s budget pushes federal spending to more than a quarter of GDP, the highest level since World War Two. The President’s budget adds $7.2 trillion to the national debt and, at $1.65 trillion, introduces the highest deficit in history. This is not the direction Americans want for our country.”
“Because of President Obama’s leadership in the area of education reform with his first Race to the Top competition, Tennessee reformed its charter school laws and now all economically disadvantaged students in Nashville can have choice in where they attend school. “Over the last several years, Nashville has embraced education reform at all levels. Our school board, our business community, and our nonprofit and philanthropic communities all recognized that the status quo was not working. Simply said, our school district was not making the grade under No Child Left Behind. Because of this, we started to do things differently – from the way we recruit and train teachers to providing early intervention for our students who are at high risk of dropping out. We’ve gone from having a school district on the brink of state takeover, to a school district where graduation rates are going up and dropout rates are going down. “Though Nashville still has a long way to go, we are on the right path. And we’re a perfect example of the type of city that, with additional federal support in the form of local Race to the Top funding, could set a national model for how to turn around a failing school district.”
While it's easy for us to focus on public broadcasting in Nashville, it's important to remember that public broadcasters reach more than 98 percent of American households, with free services regularly depended on and enjoyed by 170 million Americans in all 50 states. Economically, eliminating the $445 million investment in public broadcasting would only reduce the $1.5 trillion federal budget deficit by less than three ten-thousandths of 1 percent.