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01.06.13

McConnell, Pelosi, Graham, and More Sunday Talk

Pelosi wants more revenue, Graham says ‘no’ to Chuck Hagel, Cruz calls Feinstein’s gun control law ‘unconstitutional,’ and more in our Sunday talk roundup.

Pelosi Wants More Revenue

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Think the fiscal fight in Washington was over? Think again. On Face the Nation, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told Bob Schieffer that the Democrats aren’t done raising revenue as part of Congress’s attempt to reduce the country’s debt and deficit. “We get $620 billion dollars, very significant, [by] changing the high-end tax rate to 39.6 percent,” she said. “But that is not enough on the revenue side.” Mitch McConnell, meanwhile, told Meet the Press that “the tax issue’s behind us.” Pelosi disagreed: “The president had said originally he wanted $1.6 trillion in revenue. He took it down to 1.2 as a compromise in this legislation,” she said. “How much more revenue can we get as we go forward?” Of course, Pelosi added: “One thing I’m not talking about is bringing in more [revenue] at the expense of the middle class.”

Graham: Hagel Pick ‘Incredibly Controversial’

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President Obama might have avoided a controversy when Susan Rice dropped out of the running to be secretary of State, but now the appointer in chief is facing backlash over another cabinet post. As reports surface that Obama will nominate Sen. Chuck Hagel to be secretary of Defense, Sen. Lindsey Graham told State of the Union that the pick is “incredibly controversial,” as Hagel is “out of the mainstream of thinking, I believe, on most issues regarding foreign policy.” Hagel, Graham continued, “would be the most antagonistic secretary of Defense toward the state of Israel in our nation’s history,” and should not be nominated. “It looks like the second term of Barack Obama is going to be an in-your-face term,” Graham concluded.

Cruz: Feinstein’s Gun Control Bill ‘Unconstitutional’

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The Tea Party’s freshest face took to Fox News Sunday to attack the gun control legislation proposed in the wake of the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary. “Within minutes [of the shooting], we saw politicians run out and try to exploit this tragedy—try to push their political agenda of gun control,” said freshman Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas). “I do not support their gun control agenda.” Cruz did say he supports an improvement of the federal database used to run checks on potential gun owners, so that people with dangerous mental illnesses or previous violent crime convictions would have a harder time buying guns, calling it “a common-sense improvement.” But Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s proposed gun registry? “Unconstitutional,” he said. “I don’t think the federal government has any business having a list of law-abiding citizens who choose to exercise their right to keep and bear arms.”

Also on Fox News Sunday, Rep. Chris Van Hollen, the senior Democrat on the Budget Committee, said that Republicans will have to agree to further increases in revenue if they hope to cut spending. If they don’t, he said, “it’s going to be a recipe for more gridlock.”

Bowles and Simpson Bash Fiscal-Cliff Deal

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“The mountain roared and gave birth to a mouse.” “All of the hard decisions lay ahead of us.” That’s former senator Alan Simpson and former Clinton chief of staff Erskine Bowles, respectively, taking down the fiscal-cliff compromise Congress passed as its term expired. On Meet the Press, the authors of the ignored, bipartisan debt commission said reforming the tax code, reducing entitlement spending, slowing the growth of health-care costs, and fixing Social Security need to be at the top of Congress’s priorities list if it hopes to get America’s economic house in order. “Everybody out there in the Congress knows exactly what we have to do,” Simpson said, but they’re too afraid to do it. “When Erskine and I traveled around for that whole year [on the debt commission] … [Congress] said ‘save us from ourselves.’ How’s that for courage?” For good measure, Simpson added this thought on the state of America’s economy today: “We’re the healthiest horse in the glue factory.”

McConnell Not Opposed to New Gun Laws

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On Meet the Press Sunday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told David Gregory that he would look at the vice president’s coming report on gun violence, and didn’t shut down the possibility of enacting more-stringent gun laws. “There will be plenty of time to take a look at their recommendations once they come forward,” he said. On Chuck Hagel’s apparent nomination as Defense secretary, McConnell said the senator from Nebraska would face “a lot of tough questions” but would “be treated fairly by Republicans in the Senate.” And as to the prospect of Ashley Judd challenging him for his senate seat, McConnell could barely contain his smile.

Democratic Senator: Reported Obama Gun Control Proposals ‘Extreme’

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She’s a “proud NRA member,” according to George Stephanopoulos. And the feeling is apparently mutual: the gun-loving lobby group gave her an “A” rating. So when Heidi Heitkamp, a freshman Democratic senator from North Dakota, told This Week that Obama’s forthcoming—and reportedly comprehensive—gun control proposals are “way in the extreme,” she lived up to her billing. “I think you need to put everything on the table, but what I hear from the administration—and if The Washington Post is to be believed—that’s way, way in extreme of what I think is necessary or even should be talked about,” she said. “And it’s not going to pass.”

Bill O’Reilly Calls Al Jazeera ‘The Anti-America Network. Is He Right?

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No, says former Al Jazeera English anchor Dave Marash. “It’s a vast oversimplification, and not a particularly useful one,” Marsh said Sunday on Reliable Sources, as host Howard Kurtz discussed the fallout from Al Gore’s sale of Current TV to the Doha, Qatar–based network. “The Al Thanis, the royal family of Qatar, and the owners of Al Jazeera, have always been regarded as among America’s best friends and most reliable allies in the Middle East,” Marash continued. That said, Marash quit Al Jazeera four years ago because “In Doha … there is a kind of post-colonial, anti-colonial attitude, and sometimes Al Jazeera English was willing to report its attitude rather than really report out a story.”