After months of modest gains, the U.S. economy lost 125,000 jobs during June. That’s the worst jobs-related news this year. Without serious action soon, the struggling U.S. economy is going to get even uglier. Unfortunately, President Barack Obama’s economic team was slow to recognize the severity of the jobs crisis, and now seems unable to get Congress to actually do something about it.
Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-CT) unveiled his latest financial reform proposal on Monday, and the stakes for the new legislation couldn’t be higher. After consumer groups raised a major ruckus, Dodd has dropped one of his most egregious concessions to the bank lobby—cutting enforcement authority from the proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA). That’s good news: Without a major regulatory overhaul, the U.S. economy’s destructive boom and bust cycle will start all over again.
Today, President Barack Obama delivered a speech from the White House outlining his plan to move forward on health care reform. Advocating the use of budget reconciliation in order to get disputed portions of the reform package through the Senate on a simple-majority vote, Obama pointedly said, "I believe the United States Congress owes the American people a final vote on health-care reform. We have debated this issue thoroughly. And now it deserves the same kind of up or down vote that was used for welfare reform...."
Early Monday morning, the senate voted 60-40 along straight party lines to defeat the initial attempt to filibuster the health care reform bill. Yesterday, it passed the second of three procedural votes, bringing the Senate one step closer to a final vote on the health care reform bill. Majority Speaker Harry Reid (D-NV) is on schedule to vote on the bill before Christmas.
The United Nations Climate Change Conference (Cop15) turned ugly today when police officers beat back hundreds of demonstrators, including a group of 50 to 100 delegates that were trying to meet with the protesters.
This week the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee held three hearings on the Kerry-Boxer clean energy bill and, as David Roberts reports for Grist, Republican Senators had an “adolescent tantrum” about the cost of emission reductions. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Congressional Budget Office, Energy Information Administration and other organizations have extensively debunked this line of debate.
A plan to reform health care that includes a robust public option would actually cut the deficit, according to preliminary estimates by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). For the purposes of this analysis, a robust public option was defined as one that reimburses doctors at Medicare rates plus five percent. The latest CBO estimate is critical for Democrats because President Barack Obama said he wouldn’t sign a health care bill that adds to the deficit. (There’s a double standard at work. Health care has to pay for itself or save money. But as Jo Comerford notes for Democracy Now!, the president has no compunction about bloating the budget with defense spending.)
Earlier this week, thousands of Americans attended vigils for healthcare reform sponsored by MoveOn.org. (Photos from the New York vigil here.) The president says that a public option isn't the most important part of health care reform, but it's a make-or-break issue for his liberal base.
Because if it bleeds, it leads... Sarah van Schagen rates the environmental impact of feminine hygiene products for Grist.
DENVER--Today's meeting of the Democratic Women's Caucus featured a surprise guest: Michelle Obama.
The potential first lady is making a concerted effort, it seems, to reach out to the different women's constituency groups in the Democratic party, including those closely allied with Hillary Clinton. (Earlier this week, Michelle Obama spoke to a gathering sponsored by Emily's List, the organization that bundles donations to fund pro-choice candidates.)
In today's remarks, Ms. Obama offered Hillary Clinton some major props, saying, "Thanks to her, my husband is a better candidate." The ballroom full of women echoed with cheers and applause. "Thanks to her," Michelle Obama continued, "his campaign is a better campaign. And thanks to her, my daughters -- and all of our daughters -- have the freedom to dream bigger dreams..."