Tales from the Trail

from Summit Notebook:

Unlikely alliance: Congressman Barney Frank and the Tea Party

At first glance it would appear that Congressman Barney Frank and lawmakers backed by the Tea Party movement would have little in common -- one is a liberal Democrat, the others are conservative Republicans.

Look again.

FINANCE-SUMMIT/Frank said his quest to reduce military spending will probably attract Tea Party lawmakers who campaigned on a platform of fiscal discipline, even to cuts in an area that typically meet strong resistance from Republicans.

"I think the notion of nation building, of America enforcing stability over the world ... is wasted money because it doesn't work," Frank told the Reuters Future Face of Finance summit. "I think there's some potential alliance there."

Frank also sees another area in which the Tea Party might be allies -- any attempt by the Republican majority in the House to roll back reforms on derivatives in the wake of the financial crisis. "If they were to try to roll back derivatives regulation legislatively, yes, the Tea Party people would be allies of ours," he said.

What about their ideological differences? "You learn to work with people that you don't have anything in common with," Frank said.

Washington Extra – Oil up

How high is it? A 2-1/2 year high.

How high can it go? No one knows.

BUSINESS/SUMMERYEnergy Secretary Steven Chu expressed what is on many minds – that the oil price jump can hurt the economy. “We have a very delicate recovery going on and an increase in prices will make that vulnerable.”

Even with all options on the table, U.S. officials expressed great caution about imposing no-fly zones over Libya. “I think we are a long way from making that decision,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said.

Some Republicans saw the oil price scare as an opportunity to push again for expanding off-shore oil drilling. “To end this dangerous over-reliance on oil imports, we must find more domestic resources, improve our efficiency and improve international cooperation,” Senator Dick Lugar said.

Obama, lawmakers may lose own paychecks in government shutdown

President Barack Obama and members of Congress may soon have added incentive to reach a budget deal and avert a possible government shutdown: their own six-figure salaries.

OBAMA-SPEECH/The Democratic-led Senate unanimously passed a bill on late Tuesday to deny pay to the president and U.S. lawmakers during government shutdowns. The measure now goes to the Republican-led House for final congressional approval, which would clear the way for Obama to sign it into law.

“If we fail to keep the government operating, which is our basic responsibility, then we don’t deserve a paycheck,” said Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer, a chief sponsor of the bill.