Republicans disown Bachmann: House Speaker John Boehner joined Sen. John McCain in strongly condemning Rep. Michele Bachmann’s Muslim witch hunt, saying a press conference yesterday, “accusations like this being thrown around are pretty dangerous.” Later he told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that he would speak with Bachmann about her investigation. Blitzer called Bachmann’s moves “McCarthy-like.”
Rep. Mike Rogers, the Republican chairman of Bachmann’s Intelligence Committee, “was described by several sources as incredibly angry when he heard of the incident,” Politico reported. Rep. Jeff Flake, a conservative Arizonan running for Senate, tweeted, “Kudos to @SenJohnMcCain for his statement on Senate floor yesterday defending Clinton aide. Well said.” Sens. Scott Brown and Marco Rubio, both big-name Republican lawmakers with national profiles, also condemned Bachmann.
Colorado shooting: President Obama and challenger Mitt Romney both sent out statements expressing condolences for the victims of the shooting in Aurora, Colo. Obama said: “Michelle and I are shocked and saddened by the horrific and tragic shooting in Colorado. Federal and local law enforcement are still responding, and my Administration will do everything that we can to support the people of Aurora in this extraordinarily difficult time. We are committed to bringing whoever was responsible to justice, ensuring the safety of our people, and caring for those who have been wounded. As we do when confronted by moments of darkness and challenge, we must now come together as one American family. All of us must have the people of Aurora in our thoughts and prayers as they confront the loss of family, friends, and neighbors, and we must stand together with them in the challenging hours and days to come.”
Romney, just a few minutes later, added: “Ann and I are deeply saddened by the news of the senseless violence that took the lives of 15 people in Colorado and injured dozens more. We are praying for the families and loved ones of the victims during this time of deep shock and immense grief. We expect that the person responsible for this terrible crime will be quickly brought to justice.”
Deficit, schmecifit: The Republican tax proposal, which would preserve the Bush tax cuts for all income brackets, would cost about $80 billion more than the Democratic plan, which would allow the cuts on income over $250,000 to expire. The new estimate comes from the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation, which is Congress’ official referee of tax numbers. All told, the Republican measure would add $300 billion to next year’s budget deficit, the JCT said. The numbers underscore how Republicans’ stated concerns about the deficit are almost always trumped by their desire to cut taxes, especially for the wealthy.
STOCK full of holes: Congress passed, and President Obama signed, a law recently to stop lawmakers from profiting from insider information. But CNN reports that “a loophole could still allow family members of some lawmakers to profit from inside information. The STOCK Act requires that any trades of $1,000 or more made on or after July 3 have to be reported to the House and Senate within 45 days. But the House and Senate have two completely different interpretations of that rule.” Senate ethics officials say spouses and children are covered under the law, but House ethics officials say they are not. Interestingly, House majority Leader Eric Cantor effectively created the loophole and his wife is a banker on the board of several large corporations.
Dustbowl 2012: Grain prices pushed to record highs yesterday as scattered rains in U.S. Midwest did little to douse fears that “the worst drought in half a century will not end soon or relieve worries around the world about higher food prices.” “Government forecasters did not rule out that the drought in the U.S. heartland could last past October, continuing what has been the hottest half-year on record,” Reuters reports. Many climate scientists say the drought is connected to climate change.