Most 2012 Hopefuls Give Spring Timeline
Yesterday we reported on what Haley Barbour told the Clarion-Ledger about any presidential plans. The two-term governor said that any decisions about 2012 will come after the legislative session ends; which is scheduled for early April.
Behind the scenes work is going on now, but I still thought April for a public announcement was somewhat late in the game especially someone with relatively little name ID among voters like Barbour. But according to a story in Politico, most leading Republican presidential candidates are looking at a similar timeline.
Early possible entrants- meaning January- include Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum. A March announcement looks likely for former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and outgoing Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty. Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels and South Dakota Sen. John Thune are looking at April, like Barbour. 2008 presidential candidate Mitt Romney is looking to announce in the spring, while other frontrunners including Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin are hinting at summer announcements.
Lame duck happenings in the House. The big news from the House was that they were able to pass the tax cut compromise negotiated between President Barack Obama and Republican leaders yesterday, and with relative ease. By a vote of 277-148, the compromise passed with an interesting coalition. Conservatives and liberals both supported it and opposed it; for different reasons.
The House delegation in Mississippi was split. Bennie Thompson and Gene Taylor opposed it, while Travis Childers and Gregg Harper supported it.
Here is part of a statement from Harper: “Republicans have not wavered in the least from our economic policies. This bill is the result of the first bipartisan negotiation led by our President since he was inaugurated nearly two years ago. Surprisingly, the deal that was reached adopts Republican priorities in terms of tax policy and for the most part rejects Democratic priorities.”
Also regarding recent votes, the House passed a repeal of the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy. Thompson was the lone supporter with Taylor, Childers, and Harper all voting against it- much like the Dream Act vote.
Lame duck happenings in the Senate. And in the Senate, we had even bigger news as Democrats were forced to pull the controversial $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill late last night. This is an interesting bill. It is filled with earmarks totaling somewhere around $2 billion. The sheer size of the bill, along with the earmarks, caused many GOPers to pull support.
This includes Sen. Roger Wicker who blasted the size and cost of the bill earlier this week. Before that (presumably before the elections), Wicker had plenty of earmarks included in the bill or attached his name to many others (often with Sen. Thad Cochran). He now opposes the bill. Cochran has not turned on his support for earmarks as Wicker has, and we don’t know his official position on the bill right now although he did help write the bill.
Here is a statement from Democratic Party Chairman Jamie Franks on Wicker’s opposition to the bill: “Wicker wants to continue to get the praise of his constituents and send pork projects home, but he also wants to be loved by Republican leadership in D.C. and vote against pork barrel spending and earmarks. You can’t have it both ways”
** On the subject of earmarks, WAPT spoke with Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant about the issue. He called earmarks “something that’s just attached to a piece of legislation that has nothing to do with that,” and added, “legislators are going to have to put up front what the bill was for, how much it’s going to cost, where we’re going to get the money for it. What the effect is going to be and put it into law.”
Haley Barbour, however, didn’t seem to have as big of a problem with earmarks with a spokesman saying they aren’t necessarily a bad thing, that they have helped the state in the past , but that they have been abused in other states giving the practice a bad name.