National Journal: Dems are Done with Baucus

Aaron Flint posted on September 30, 2013 14:33 :: 1048 Views

National Journal has a scathing report out on Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT). (h/t Bob Brigham)

Here’s the headline: “Democrats Are Done With Max Baucus

Here’s an excerpt:

Baucus, the Democrat progressives love to hate, has endured a string of indignities from his own party and its leadership in recent months. In May, Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois and other top Senate Democrats ignored his request to return an online-sales-tax bill—a potential vehicle for states to earn huge revenue from growing companies such as Amazon—to his committee for more review. Then, toward the end of the summer, Majority Leader Harry Reid nixed Baucus’s effort to overhaul the tax code when he refused even to participate in a Baucus-led exercise asking lawmakers to defend specific tax breaks. Worse, Reid announced his dis before a gaggle of reporters.

But the most demoralizing development might be this: Few Democrats even want Baucus to overhaul the tax system, according to aides.

But Baucus also suffers from the way Congress runs. Power now flows through a small leadership circle; that, not the committees, is where major decisions are made. Even holding the gavel at the Finance Committee—which oversees the tax code, the Internal Revenue Service, and the debt ceiling—isn’t enough to control power anymore. “We’re just in a different era. The tea-party crowd has changed the dynamic. Historically, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee would be in the room for major decisions,” a prominent tax lobbyist says. “He’s got less juice than he did six months ago.”

Meanwhile, with the Defund Obamacare debate looming in the midst of the budget debate, could the Keystone pipeline be front and center in a debate over the nation’s debt ceiling?

USA Today has this:  

Some proponents of the Keystone XL pipeline are eyeing a mid-October deadline for raising the nation’s debt ceiling as a tool to win approval for the long-delayed project.

House Republicans plan to make a debt-ceiling hike contingent on a list of party priorities that include delayed implementation of the 2010 health care law, an overhaul of the tax code and a broad rollback of environmental regulations. One item on the list is language requiring the administration to approve the 1,700-mile pipeline.

President Barack Obama has said he won’t negotiate on the debt ceiling. He and most Democrats, including Montana Sens. Max Baucus and Jon Tester, are calling for a “clean” debt-ceiling bill free of other provisions.

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