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Ear to the Ground

GOP Backs Off Norquist Anti-Tax Pledge, Fox News Dissed on Fox News, and More

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Posted on Nov 26, 2012

Leaving Post: Mary Schapiro announced Monday that she will step down as chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission next month. Schapiro helped guide the agency’s response in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. SEC Commissioner Elisse Walter will replace Schapiro. (Read more)

Suit Reopened: The Supreme Court has ordered a lower court to rehear a case that challenges a key provision of President Obama’s health care law on religious reasons. Liberty University, a Christian college, had argued in its lawsuit that the Affordable Care Act violates its religious freedoms because the provision that requires large organizations to provide insurance to employees could lead to the funding of abortions. The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had dismissed the suit in September 2011. (Read more)

Tax Hikes, Please: Billionaire financial guru Warren Buffett says that Congress should enact a minimum tax on high-income earners like himself to get the country back on a “fiscally sound path.” In an op-ed in The New York Times, Buffett writes: “I would suggest 30 percent of taxable income between $1 million and $10 million, and 35 percent on amounts above that. A plain and simple rule like that will block the efforts of lobbyists, lawyers and contribution-hungry legislators to keep the ultrarich paying rates well below those incurred by people with income just a tiny fraction of ours. Only a minimum tax on very high incomes will prevent the stated tax rate from being eviscerated by these warriors for the wealthy.” (Read more)

Not Pledging Allegiance: Members of the GOP appear to be tiring of Grover Norquist and his anti-tax pledge that many in the party have signed. The latest congressional Republican who has said he will violate Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform pledge to not increase taxes is Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. Other Republicans, including Rep. Steve King and Sens. Saxby Chambliss and Bob Corker, have also indicated they will back off the pledge. (Read more)

Real Reason: For those who suspected voter suppression as the primary motive behind new election laws pushed by Florida Republicans—congratulations, you were probably right! A former Florida GOP leader who was ousted from the party along with former Gov. Charlie Crist said the laws were primarily designed to ensure a Republican victory in the election, and not curb voter fraud as was publicly stated. “The Republican Party, the strategists, the consultants, they firmly believe that early voting is bad for Republican Party candidates,” former Florida Republican Party Chairman Jim Greer told The Palm Beach Post. “It’s done for one reason and one reason only. ... ‘We’ve got to cut down on early voting because early voting is not good for us,’ ” he said he was told. Guess that strategy didn’t work. (Read more)

Voting Record: With 7.1 million votes cast for her, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., can now boast that she holds the record for the highest number of votes won in a Senate election. That honor previously belonged to Sen. Barbara Boxer, also a Democrat from California, who garnered more than 6.9 million votes in the 2004 election. That the two senators from the Golden State have had the highest vote totals shouldn’t come as a big surprise, however, given that California is the most populous state in the U.S. (Read more)

Awesome Video of the Day: Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Thomas Ricks called out Fox News for being biased during an appearance on the conservative cable news channel. Not surprisingly, after Ricks said the network was “operating as a wing of the Republican Party,” his interview was abruptly ended.

—Posted by Tracy Bloom.

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