Dec 26, 2012, 6:13 pm EDT
With just five days left until the United States goes over the fiscal cliff, things are looking pretty grim for a last-second deal. Last week, right before Congress went on Christmas vacation, House Speaker John Boehner was unable to muster up enough support for his “Plan B” fiscal cliff legislation.
This has left the ball in the Senate’s court to come up with a deal to avoid the mandatory tax increases and spending cuts that will be triggered if a deal is not reached by December 31. His hands tied, Boehner has urged the Senate to come up with a deal and promised the House would consider whatever legislation it came up with.
President Barack Obama is due back in Washington tomorrow and will be meeting with members of Congress in order to hash out a last-second deal. However, even with Boehner’s pleas and Obama’s efforts, a fiscal cliff deal will be an uphill battle. Read
Dec 21, 2012, 9:30 am EDT
Efforts to avoid the U.S. fiscal cliff were in tatters last night after Republicans in the House of Representatives rejected House Speaker John Boehner’s “Plan B” legislation, which would have preserved Bush-era tax cuts on Americans earning less than $1 million a year.
Boehner had introduced the legislation as a fallback position to strengthen his bargaining power in budget talks with President Barack Obama. However, the speaker failed to muster enough GOP support to pass the bill and had to pull it from the House floor, Reuters noted.
With “Plan B” dead, and Congress readying to leave Washington for its Christmas break, the window for a deal is closing fast. In 11 days, mandatory tax hikes and budget cuts, part of last year’s deal to raise the debt ceiling, will kick in. Read
Dec 20, 2012, 9:48 am EDT
One likely outcome of any budget deal between President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans is raising fees on higher-income Medicare beneficiaries.
Both sides in the ongoing, if rocky, negotiations over tax hikes and budget cuts have signaled their support for letting Medicare premiums rise for senior citizens considered wealthy under government rules, the Associated Press notes.
Medicare premiums could rise by increasing monthly costs for prescription drug coverage and outpatient services on seniors with incomes over specified levels. Currently, individuals with annual incomes over $85,000 or couples with combined incomes over $170,000 are hit with surcharges. Read
Dec 19, 2012, 10:07 pm EDT
President Barack Obama is asking Congress to pass bills that would ban the sale of assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines, as well as require that any firearm sale be accompanied by a background check. The president’s request comes five days after the school shooting at a Connecticut elementary school that killed 27 people, including 20 children.
The president’s suggested gun control measures will likely be looked at by a working group led by Vice President Joe Biden. Obama’s proposals are his most significant to date dealing with gun violence in the U.S.
Gun-control advocates and many Democrats are pleased with Obama’s suggestions, particularly in the wake of his previous unwillingness to act on gun control. During his first term as president, there have been four mass shootings of civilians, including two this year and the shooting that severely injured former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz. in 2011. Read
Dec 18, 2012, 7:19 pm EDT
President Barack Obama’s choice for his next Secretary of State may be the worst-kept secret in Washington right now — or one of the biggest surprises ever, if the presumptive nominee isn’t selected.
Hillary Clinton’s likely successor? Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass. Sources have told both CNN and ABC News that Kerry will be Obama’s choice, and that it’s only a matter of time before Obama makes the announcement.
Kerry seems to possess the foreign relations experience necessary to thrive in the role. Originally from Denver, Colo., Kerry spent much of his childhood overseas. He lived in Berlin, and attended a Swiss boarding school at 11 years old. He is also a Vietnam War veteran who earned the Silver Star, Bronze Star, and three Purple Hearts during his tour of duty. He has been a senator since 1984, and currently serves as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Read
Dec 18, 2012, 10:23 am EDT
Tom Monaghan, founder of Domino’s Pizza (NYSE:DPZ), is suing the federal government over the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare.
Monaghan’s suit claims that the mandate that employer-provided health insurance covers birth control violates his right to religious freedom. He calls birth control “gravely immoral,” The Hill reports.
The suit is brought by Monaghan not on behalf of Domino’s Pizza, but on behalf of Monaghan himself and Domino’s Farms, an office park owned by Monaghan. The suit was filed in federal court last Friday. Read