The tax fight cometh: Today, as lawmakers return to Washington after the July 4th recess, President Obama will deliver an opening salvo in the upcoming tax wars, declaring in a Rose Garden address later today that he will not extend the Bush tax cuts for people making over $250,000 a year, even temporarily. Instead, he will call for a one-year extension of the tax cuts for middle- and working-class Americans, which puts him to the left of House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and New York Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer, who have advocated extending the cuts for everyone who earns up to $1 million.
“But by calling for an extension for just a year, Mr. Obama hopes to make Republicans look obstructionist and unreasonable,” the Times reports.
Romney donors complain about lack of VIP entrance: Mitt Romney held a series of high-dollar fundraisers on the Hamptons this weekend, producing scenes of elitism that are hard to believe are real. “Is there a V.I.P. entrance? We are V.I.P.,” a woman in a black Range Rover, one of 30 luxury cars waiting to pull into a multi-million-dollar mansion, complained to a Romney aide, according to the New York Times.
At the next event, another woman in a luxury SUV protested to the Los Angeles Times: "I don't think the common person is getting it ... The baby sitters, the nails ladies -- everybody who's got the right to vote -- they don't understand what's going on. I just think if you're lower income -- one, you're not as educated; two, they don't understand how it works, they don't understand how the systems work.”
But Romney himself said he’s not really concerned for his wealthy guests. “If you’re here, by and large you’re doing just fine. And I don’t spend a lot of time worrying about those that are doing as well as you guys are, or how I’m doing, but I spend a lot of time worrying about those that are poor and those in the middle class that are finding it hard to make a bright future for themselves,” CNN overheard him saying, correcting an earlier gaffe in which he said he’s "not concerned" about the poor.
Romney was expected to raise at least $3 million dollars at three fundraisers.
Protesters arrested: One of the fundraisers was at the Hamptons home of David Koch, the billionaire conservative mega-donor. A few hundreds protesters showed up to demonstrate against money in politics, though police were on high alert for what was described as the first large-scale protest the tony town had ever witnessed. Several activists were arrested, including two who tried to sail, then swim, across a lake to get to the house, but ended up crashing into a police boat.
GOP now too extreme for big business? The AP notes, “Republicans like to tout themselves as the best friends of business ... [y]et when it comes to many of industry's top legislative priorities, conservative Republican lawmakers and like-minded groups including the Club for Growth and Heritage Action have thrown up roadblocks to tasks that had been easy before the 2010 elections and sent a large class of conservative Tea Party insurgents to Congress.” Most recently, it was the Import-Export Bank, which every business association in America wanted approved. It had been re-authorized two dozen times since its creation in 1934, and though it did finally pass, the Tea Party faction of the GOP needlessly obstructed passage for months.
Now, the business community is pressing the Senate to ratify a treaty governing the high seas, arguing that it would open a new path to oil, gas and other resources, as well as produce thousands of jobs. But “prospects are uncertain as conservatives stand united in opposition,” arguing it’s a limit of U.S. sovereignty and a U.N. power grab.
John Boehner gets candid about Romney: At a fundraiser in West Virginia this weekend, House Speaker John Boehner was asked, "Can you make me love Mitt Romney?" "No," he replied candidly. "The American people probably aren't going to fall in love with Mitt Romney,” he added. Confidence!