Tales from the Trail

Spending cuts an arrow through the heart of cowboy poets

Mean. That’s what Democrats say about Republican efforts to cut spending. They even want to rope in the cowboy poet.

OBIT AUTRYDemocrats have decried a spending bill passed by House Republicans that would slash money for education, heating and food assistance for the poor, community health centers, public television and alternative energy sources.

Most people are familiar with federal spending in those areas.

But who knew that federal funding for the arts and humanities helped provide a spotlight for cowboy poets. 

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid complained on Tuesday that the “mean-spirited” House Republican spending bill for this year would eliminate spending for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

“These programs create jobs,” Reid said. “The National Endowment for the Humanities is the reason we have in northern Nevada every January a cowboy poetry festival.”
 
Reid said the festival, held in Elko, Nevada, attracts tens of thousands of people every year.

Who to blame for a U.S. government shutdown?

USA-POLITICS/REPUBLICANSNever mind that it hasn’t happened yet. Lawmakers want to make sure everyone knows who is responsible if  it does.

If  the  U.S. Congress deadlocks over spending for the rest of this fiscal year and forces a shutdown of government services when the money runs out on March 4, who will be to blame?

Democrats and Republicans may not agree on much, but they do agree on one thing – if the government shuts down it will be the other party’s fault.

Washington Extra

In the name of equal opportunities, after featuring Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell on Monday, today’s newsletter leads on his Democratic counterpart Harry Reid.
reid
Reid, our Reuters-IPSOS poll reveals, has two big problems as he aims for re-election in recession-hit Nevada in November. The first is the economy, the overriding concern of three out of every four registered voters – a proportion way higher than the national average.

The second is the enthusiasm gap, a problem for Democrats all over the country, with Reid’s supporters significantly less likely to vote than the Republican rank and file. Reid is comfortably ahead of Tea Party darling Sharron Angle among registered voters, by 52 to 36 percent. Among people who said they were likely to vote, the gap narrowed sharply, with Reid leading by just 48 to 44 percent.

One of the Democrats biggest problems has been convincing voters that the economic stimulus enacted last year actually helped. Ratcheting up the war of words, Republican leaders Tom Coburn and John McCain sent out a list of 100 spending projects they said were “stupid and inappropriate.”