The Takeaway

Republicans Attempt to Turn SCOTUS Decision to Their Advantage

Monday, July 02, 2012

The GOP has shifted their hopes for ending Obamacare from the Supreme Court’s ruling to the November election. 
And over the weekend, Republicans sought to turn the Supreme Court’s ruling to their advantage … pushing the idea that the individual mandate is an tax increase on the middle class. 
Meanwhile, Republican State Governors are looking to stall any efforts to implement the affordable care act in their own states. 
Joining us is Politico White House Reporter Reid Epstein. 
Also on the line is Takeaway Washington Correspondent Todd Zwillich.

The GOP has shifted their hopes for turning back Obama's health care law from the Supreme Court’s ruling to the November election. And over the weekend, Republicans sought to turn the Supreme Court’s ruling to their advantage by pushing the idea that the individual mandate is a tax increase on the middle class. 

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Transportation Nation

If We Can't Afford to Fix Roads, Can We Afford to Build Roads?

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

New highway construction in Mississippi. Photo by Matt Dellinger.

(Matt Dellinger, Transportation Nation)  When Scott Walker was running for Governor of Wisconsin last fall, he peppered the airwaves with a campaign spot that made very clear why he planned to stop the proposed Madison-to-Milwaukee high speed rail line: It was going to cost about $810 million dollars to build, he said, and “I’d rather take that money and fix Wisconsin’s crumbling roads and bridges.”

But a new report by the Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group (WISPIRG) takes Governor Walker to task for cutting $48 million in local transportation assistance—much of which would be used for road and bridge repair—while proposing a 13% increase in spending on new highway capital projects. WISPIRG’s report “Building Boondoggles?” isn’t fooling anyone with the question mark in its title. The authors, Kyle Bailey and Bruce Speight, make no bones about the “troubling” nature of Walker's “new construction largess.”

In response to a $3.6 Billion state deficit, Bailey and Speight point out, the Governor has suggested cuts “in most areas of the state budget, including education, health care and state assistance for local cities, towns and counties. State funding for local road repair and transit have also been put on the chopping block. Transit in particular has been put at risk by receiving a 10% across the board cut.” At the same time, Walker's belt-tightening left room for a billion-dollar widening of Interstate 90 south of Madison, a $390 million widening of the Tri-County Freeway in Winnebago and Calumet Counties, and the $125 million construction of a four-lane road through Caledonia county between Milwaukee and Racine.

WISPIRG questions the wisdom of these specific projects, which, to be fair, were kicking around for years before Walker became Governor (but then again, so was the Madison-to-Milwaukee high-speed rail project). But more to the point, Bailey and Speight raise the question of how Governor Walker can suggest adding to the new-road budget an amount—$328 million—that could have prevented his cuts to transit and maintenance. (Walker's office respectfully declined to comment for this story.)

Expanding the system while deferring maintenance is not just a Wisconsin thing. According to another report, released today by Taxpayers for Common Sense and Smart Growth America, this is a nationwide habit. The two groups found that between 2004 and 2008, while bridges crumbled and roads deteriorated, states spent 57 percent of their highway budgets on road widening and new road construction.

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It's A Free Country ®

Obama Faces State Governors

Monday, February 28, 2011


"Make yourself feel at home," President Obama said as he began his speech to the National Governor's Association on Monday, "but for those of you interested in the next election, I don't mean that literally."

After a laugh (from the president and governors alike), Obama launched into his speech, discussing states' flexibility in the controversial health care act; federal spending on infrastructure, research and innovation; the state and federal budget crises; and, of course, the public work force. In the wake of the budget protests in Wisconsin and with an audience of state leaders, the President gave a veiled jab at the state's ongoing battle.

Obama spoke to the delegation of Governors at the White House. Vice President Biden, Dr. Jill Biden and the First Lady also spoke at the gathering on Monday.



The Takeaway

New Gov. Nikki Haley: Major Deficit, National Ambitions

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

As governors across the country have taken office, we've looked at states where new leaders will face major challenges. For the last in our series on new governors we turn to South Carolina, where Governor Nikki Haley takes office today. Gov. Haley is now the youngest governor in the country, at just 38 years old. Her state faces an $829 million budget shortfall. What other challenges does she face and how will she tackle them?

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The Takeaway

Can Gov. John Kasich Fix Ohio?

Monday, January 10, 2011

We continue our series about incoming governors across the country and the challenges they face. This morning Republican John Kasich will be sworn in as the new governor of Ohio, replacing Democrat Ted Strickland. Ohio is a critical state in national elections. Ohio's population is shifting as local companies move out of the state, and Republican leadership continues to gain control.

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The Takeaway

Arizona's Gov. Jan Brewer: Immigration, Medicaid and Unemployment

Monday, January 03, 2011

As we begin the first week of 2011, new and re-elected governors all across the nation will soon be inaugurated. We’ve been highlighting governors that you’re sure to hear about in the coming year. Today we focus on Arizona's Governor Jan Brewer, as she begins her second term. Nadine Arroyo Rodriguez, reporter and host from our member station KJZZ in Phoenix, Ariz., says immigration, unemployment and Medicaid will be the biggest issues in Brewer's next round in office.


The Takeaway

Governor-Elect Jerry Brown Heading Back to Sacramento

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Inauguration ceremonies for governors will take place in states across the country over the next few weeks. We’re taking a look at states where new leaders will have to face major deficits, population shifts and rising unemployment as they move into their mansions. How are these new governors going to fare when faced with their states' looming budget problems? Today we look to California to consider Jerry Brown, who served as governor there from 1975 to 1983. Brown returns to the statehouse at the age of 74, older and — perhaps — wiser.

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The Takeaway

New Governors Prepare to Take the Reins

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The inauguration season for the nation’s newly elected governors will take place over the next few weeks. Republicans gained six governorships, which means they’ll hold 29 seats, while Democrats will hold 20.  (Lincoln Chafee, in Rhode Island, will be the only independent). The executive control these governors wield in state governments across the country will have a noticeable impact on the balance of power for both parties in the coming years.


The Takeaway

Top of the Hour: The American Governor, Morning Headlines

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Governors are smaller versions of the Head of State, but they have big personalities. One only needs to look to Governors Arnold Schwartzenegger, Rick Perry, and former Governors Sarah Palin, Mark Sanford, and Rod Blagojevich for proof of that. As a new class takes office next week, what will they bring, be it controversy or leadership...or both?