Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Senate 'Gang of 8' says its moment is past in deficit talks

WASHINGTON — After years of wrangling, members of the bipartisan group of senators known as the Gang of Eight have all but given up on a deficit reduction breakthrough and now say the best they can do is offer ideas for the one fiscal negotiation that will truly matter: talks between President Barack Obama and House Speaker John A. Boehner that begin in earnest today.

Another fruitless meeting this week of the Senate group has only raised the pressure ahead of the White House session between the president and congressional leaders.

"It was great. We had a lot of doughnuts," said Sen. Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, the Senate's second-ranking Democrat and the most powerful member of the gang that was once seen as the best hope for a budget deal that could draw support from both parties.

Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., who has been negotiating with Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., said it was time to squelch such side negotiations, lest they undermine Obama and Boehner.

"There's eight individuals, well-meaning and trying to get a deal, and it shows you how hard it is," Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla. and an original member of the Gang of Eight, said of the apparent impasse. "And it's gotten harder after the election. As you might imagine, positions have hardened."

The efforts by such freelance negotiations were once seen as a bottom-up way to push leaders on Capitol Hill and in the White House toward the political center. But, Bennet said, time has run out. Now lawmakers from both parties say they need a solution imposed from the top.

Today Obama will meet with Boehner; Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California, the House Democratic leader; Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada, the Senate majority leader, and Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader in the Senate, to formally begin deficit negotiations. White House officials say Obama is likely to extend another invitation for next week, after he returns from a trip to Asia and before Thanksgiving.

Comments
Tampa’s Berkeley Prep grads lead revolt against one of their own: Kirstjen Nielsen

Tampa’s Berkeley Prep grads lead revolt against one of their own: Kirstjen Nielsen

WASHINGTON – When Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen went on national television Monday and dismissed criticism over the child separation policy — falsely pinning it on a "law passed by the U.S. Congress" — a special level...
Updated: 1 minute ago
CEOs are calling the separation of children and families at the border ‘inhumane’ and ‘tragic’

CEOs are calling the separation of children and families at the border ‘inhumane’ and ‘tragic’

Democratic and Republican lawmakers have spoken out about the Trump administration’s hard-line "zero-tolerance" immigration policy that has resulted in a sharp rise in children separated from their parents at the southern U.S. border. The president o...
Updated: 6 minutes ago
Demolition looms for old Bromley office building at Midtown Tampa

Demolition looms for old Bromley office building at Midtown Tampa

TAMPA — Over the past month, demolition crews have gutted the old five-story Bromley office building at the future site of the $500 million Midtown Tampa project.On Sunday, the remaining skeleton of the building is scheduled to come down.The demoliti...
Updated: 11 minutes ago
How the Rays really won Tuesday’s game over Astros

How the Rays really won Tuesday’s game over Astros

There was some interesting inside baseball elements that factored into the late innings of Tuesday's 2-1 Rays win.* First, on Matt Duffy's double off reliever Hector Rondon to lead off the eighth.Duffy said he doesn't like "to guess" what a pitcher i...
Updated: 28 minutes ago

Updated: 1 hour ago

EU says it will start to impose tariffs on US on Friday

The European Union will start imposing duties on a list of U.S. products as of Friday in response to President Donald Trump's decision to slap tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Europe
Updated: 1 hour ago
The Latest: Hungary approves new anti-migration legislation

The Latest: Hungary approves new anti-migration legislation

More than 100 Rohingya Muslims in a refugee camp in Bangladesh have marched to highlight their suffering
Updated: 1 hour ago
Review: Pattinson elevates the melancholy western 'Damsel'

Review: Pattinson elevates the melancholy western 'Damsel'

Film Review: Pitiful men pin their hopes on delusions of romance in David and Nathan Zellner's 'Damsel,' an offbeat odyssey set in the Old West
Updated: 1 hour ago

Ex-teacher who made anti-gay comments settles lawsuit

A former New Jersey high school teacher who resigned after posting anti-gay comments on her Facebook page has settled a discrimination lawsuit against the school district
Updated: 1 hour ago

AP Top News at 9:47 a.m. EDT

AP Top News at 9:47 a.m. EDT
Updated: 1 hour ago