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Sunday Study Guide: Durbin, McCarthy and Roundtable

Democratic Whip Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill)

  • Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) is in his third term in the U.S. Senate, facing re-election in 2014. He is the Senate majority whip, a position he has held since 2006. Sen. Durbin sits on the Judiciary, Appropriations, Foreign Relations and Rules Committees.
  • He recently called upon Speaker of the House John Boehner to hold a vote on extending the Bush-era tax rates for incomes below $250,000, which the Senate passed last summer and is a part of the White House’s fiscal cliff proposal to Republicans. Durbin if Boehner does not bring the House bill to a vote before the end of the year, it “will endanger our economy because we’re in the midst of a recovering economy.”
  • Sen. Durbin spoke last week  about what he believes is needed in the fiscal cliff deal. He said progressives “cannot stand by the sidelines in denial that this is ever going to engage us in the things that we value. We can't be so naive as to believe that just taxing the rich is going to solve our problems.” While he agrees Democrats need to engage in debate about entitlements as well, he said entitlements like Social Security should be separated from the current fiscal cliff talks.
  • Here is his most recent Meet the Press appearance.

Republican Whip Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)

  • Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who was just re-elected to his fourth term as representative of California’s 22nd Congressional District, is the majority whip in the U.S. House of Representatives. He also serves on the House Financial Services Committee.
  • He wrote, the president’s “plan and its messenger reveal more about the true priorities of the administration than they may have realized it would. While Republicans have offered proposals to protect small businesses (and the Americans they employ) from tax rate increases, Geithner – the champion of Wall Street whose financial services ‘reform’ enshrined ‘Too Big to Fail’ as law – is once again advancing proposals to protect the corporate elite at the expense of the taxpayer.”
  • Rep. McCarthy said Republicans aren’t going to “whip a deal for the sake of a deal” and he would oppose a deal on the fiscal cliff if it included raising tax rates. He said, “I’m not going to work on something that, I feel, hurts the economy.”
  • He also co-wrote “Young Guns” with Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI).

Roundtable: Cooper, Gingrich, O’Donnell, Goldman, Woodward

  • Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich has come out in favor of going off the fiscal cliff if Republicans cannot get a good deal. He said, “I think that no deal is better than a bad deal. I think going off this cliff is less dangerous than letting things build up for a year or two years to have an even bigger cliff.” Gingrich also co-wrote “Victory at Yorktown: A Novel.” Watch his latest Meet the Press appearance.
  • Lawrence O’Donnell is the host of MSNBC’s The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell.  This week on his show, O’Donnell has covered the debate on the fiscal cliff, how Jim DeMint’s resignation, cabinet speculation for the president’s second term. Watch his most recent Meet the Press appearance here.
  • Juliana Goldman is the White House correspondent for Bloomberg Television. She interviewed President Barack Obama this week.
  • Helene Cooper is the White House correspondent for The New York Times. She most recently wrote about U.S.-Israeli relations through the latest violence in Gaza. She wrote that President Obama’s support for Israel through the conflict may have increased his popularity in Israel and given him some leverage to push Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on issues. She is also the author of “The House at Sugar Beach.” Here is her most recent Meet the Press appearance.
  • Washington Post Associate Editor Bob Woodward likened the fiscal cliff negotiations to the movie, “Groundhog Day.” He said, “It’s such a repetition: It’s the same players, at the same seats, at the same table, with the same doctrine. So where this goes – I think anyone who thinks they know is wrong.” Woodward is also the author of “The Price of Politics.” Watch his most recent appearance on the show.

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